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Changing the face of healthcare networks

Geoff Thomas, vice president of Enterprise Sales, Asia Pacific, Juniper Networks | May 19, 2014
Healthcare organisations are experiencing a rapid change in the nature of care provisioning with the global push towards health IT.

Healthcare organisations are experiencing a rapid change in the nature of care provisioning with the global push towards health IT. Changes sweeping the sector include electronic medical records (EMRs) and nationwide health information networks. Additionally, clinicians and physicians increasingly rely on tablets and smartphones as their primary gateway to clinical applications. Virtually all medical devices have the ability to wirelessly connect to the network, significantly increasing the data traffic.

The healthcare industry in Asia Pacific is currently undergoing rapid transformation in term of how it provides IT services with the full gamut of cloud-provided services from infrastructure to software being embraced with great enthusiasm. Almost 30 per cent of healthcare providers across the region are already using cloud computing and cloud services, according to market analyst firm Frost & Sullivan. The firm is tipping the market for cloud-based services for healthcare to expand 22.3 percent annually from its 2012 value of US$194 million until 2018.

Unfortunately, legacy networks are proving to be unsustainable and unreliable for keeping up with increasing infrastructure demands. This is a serious issue since health IT is not just mission-critical; it can be a matter of life or death. As a result, IT staff within hospitals and clinics are struggling to cope with this rapidly changing environment and soon realise their aging networks are becoming too costly, too complex and simply cannot scale.

The major challenge facing healthcare IT organizations is therefore determining how to cost-effectively deliver the extra capacity, security and capabilities across both their wired and wireless infrastructures to help them meet the exploding demands of healthcare IT services and applications over the next 10 years.

Another key challenge they are facing is how to deliver the freedom of choice of business process-enabled devices, handsets, call systems or some combination thereof for mobile caregivers and medical devices both on and off premise.

At Juniper Networks, we believe the answer to these challenges is for healthcare organisations to view the network as more than just a critical infrastructure for daily patient care operations. The network should be viewed as a strategic enabler for fueling innovation that transforms the way their organisation delivers unrivalled patient outcomes.

Simpler and wired-less

To make this happen, networks in hospitals and clinics must become a lot more powerful and capable while presenting a much simpler face to users and network administrators. The right solution needs to be:

  • Simple for hospital employees to choose and change their mobile devices.
  • Simple for them to securely access healthcare applications and clinical systems.
  • Simple for the IT department to provision one security policy per user that works on everything.
  • Simple to manage the entire network infrastructure.

 

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