Five steps to accelerate network transformation

Juniper Networks Australia
By Bruce Bennie, Vice President & General Manager, Australia & New Zealand at Juniper Networks.
Wednesday, 06 December, 2023


Five steps to accelerate network transformation

In an age of rapid healthcare digitisation, healthcare practitioners are grappling with unprecedented pressures to satisfy ever-growing and increasingly complex patient demands using digital solutions. These digital tools have become indispensable, automating essential healthcare administration tasks like managing electronic health records, appointments, and billing. Moreover, they are now seamlessly integrated into the daily operations of the healthcare industry, driving mission-critical functions.

Networks play a pivotal role in empowering medical professionals. They enable access to remote at-risk patients with telehealth consultations, who would otherwise find it difficult to receive specialised healthcare. Patient monitoring, preparation of medication and the optimisation of physical hospital conditions are precisely monitored and controlled by digital tools.

The integration of artificial intelligence further enhances medical data analysis, improving patient outcomes and automating routine tasks, granting medical professionals more time to address patient concerns. However, these digital tools are only as effective as the network that supports them. It is crucial that healthcare providers prioritise network robustness, considering these five critical aspects:

Protect patient data

Patient data and healthcare applications, often hosted on public clouds and transmitted across public internet connections, are highly susceptible to cyber-attacks. A breach could have catastrophic consequences.

Cyber-attacks often target electronic patient records or disrupt electronic healthcare operations to ransom highly confidential data or operations. To protect this information and to ensure regulatory compliance, healthcare organisations should adopt cloud-centric security solutions with extra security elements such as zero-trust routing, URL filtering, payload encryption, denial-of-service protection, Network Address Translation (NAT) and VPN functionality to mitigate the risk of attack while complying with data privacy mandates.

Enhance patient experience

The success of healthcare organisations is closely tied to patient outreach and experience. To maximise patient numbers and achieve patient satisfaction, implementing digital solutions is critical. Digital tools such as online telemedicine applications, interactive kiosks, mobile health, and clinician apps all assist in facilitating care for remote patients and achieving patient satisfaction.

These services directly rely on the network as a medium to efficiently transfer information from medical providers to patients. By intelligently managing traffic and employing appropriate service-level agreements, healthcare systems can enhance user experiences and foster the adoption of new technologies. AI-driven network monitoring can detect and address network issues proactively, preventing potential disruptions.

Reduce care disruption

In healthcare, where digital tools are lifelines, network speed and availability are not luxuries but necessities. Network connectivity failures can disrupt critical care, hinder clinician productivity, and erode patient trust.

Healthcare systems can mitigate care disruption and patient dissatisfaction by ensuring continuous access to critical applications, especially in the event of wide area network (WAN) link failures or Internet Service Provider (ISP) outages. Streamlined traffic management, session-aware routing, and quality-of-service (QoS) functions are essential to ensure reliable service with minimal disruption, all without the need for expensive backup tunnels.

Smoother network management

To match vast and growing medical demand, hospitals and healthcare systems must continuously expand into new locations and upgrade legacy systems. Integrating different network systems and installing new networks use precious time and resources possibly resulting in error.

To ease the process of network installation, healthcare providers must first update network protocols to remove outdated and inefficient elements. Ideally, healthcare providers can action moving data and networks to the cloud to minimise disruption to services and complications of network structures when installing new networks. From a centralised cloud, IT operators could use systems such as zero-touch provisioning, claim codes, and advanced templating tools to efficiently install and manage networks.

Leverage AI for competitive advantage

The increased transparency mandates of modern life mean any financing or resources the healthcare industry receives from the government and philanthropy are more tightly controlled than ever. To adhere to the ethical demands, hospitals and healthcare providers are constantly seeking cost efficiencies.

Shifting network services to the cloud and implementing AI-driven network management can reduce errors and complications, leading to significant cost savings. Centralised network management will also ensure uniform policies across locations and clouds, simplifying ongoing administration.

Operating in such a crowded, competitive landscape, having a robust and reliable network is non-negotiable. Embracing the digital transformation of healthcare networks is not just an option; it’s a strategic imperative. To delve deeper into how Juniper Networks is revolutionising the campus network experience, explore more using this link: https://www.juniper.net/us/en/solutions/healthcare.html.

Image credit: iStock.com/Panuwat Sikham

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