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“As hospitals navigate impacts of a global pandemic, private networks can help them capitalize on digital transformation and protect digital health investments.”
SVP, Global Strategy & Emerging Businesses
How 5G technology can transform the future of healthcare
- 5 min read
CONNECTING THE HEALTHCARE FUTURE WITH 5G TECHNOLOGIES
Digital transformation at hospitals and medical centers is speeding up. A record 93% of healthcare executives state they are innovating with a sense of urgency. As health systems race to make progress, challenges include aging infrastructure, privacy and cybersecurity concerns, and cost.
5G technologies can help healthcare leaders overcome these obstacles. With next generation connectivity, hospitals can create intelligent buildings that realize the potential of digital health apps and devices, software deployments, automation, robotics, machine learning and more.
Understanding 5G wireless technologies and their capabilities is complex. Here’s what hospitals and healthcare providers need to know.
5G IS THE FIRST “G” FOR BUSINESS
What 3G and 4G did for consumers by putting the internet in their pockets, 5G will do for a range of industries including healthcare, by connecting not only billions of people, but billions of things.
5G’s fast speeds, flexibility and security open new opportunities for hospital and medical center operations. The network can offer secure, high-bandwidth connectivity for use cases like remote surgeries, robotics and point of care testing capabilities.
When assessing 5G technologies, many factors are at play. Questions I often receive from healthcare executives are: Do I need Wi-Fi or cellular? Wireless or wired? Should I manage networks in-house or outsource?
For starters, hospitals can no longer do it alone or rely on public Wi-Fi networks. These traditional networks can pose security, congestion and reliability issues. Thanks to incredible engineering and opening of new airwaves from the FCC, hospitals in the U.S. have new options. Options like private networks.
Private, dedicated cellular networks are custom-built for business. Private wireless networks can power new use cases that elevate patient care and retain valuable hospital staff. They can be used to facilitate healthcare operations, including:
- Integrated safety and security management
- Telerobotic systems connectivity
- On-demand electronic health records and digital images
- Connected utilities and predictive equipment
- Increased point-of-care testing capabilities
- HIPAA compliance optimized for secure patient data
- Reliable device connectivity throughout hospital campus
Unlike a network running over Wi-Fi shared by many users and applications, solutions like a Boingo Private Network can be configured with cellular technology to a hospital’s specific location needs, with total control, data insights and robust layers of security.
The dedicated bandwidth of a private network opens the door to connect more devices wirelessly—from IoT equipment and sensors to handheld patient care devices—without quality concerns when more devices are added.
As hospitals navigate impacts of a global pandemic, private networks can help them capitalize on digital transformation and protect digital health investments.
NETWORK SECURITY IS NONNEGOTIABLE
5G solutions introduce new strong security offerings for hospitals. Patient data must be protected and should only be transferred over a secure, private network. From network permissions to data integrity, a safe system requires layers of security and 24/7 monitoring.
Enter multi-access edge computing (MEC). MEC runs at the edge of a network and performs specific tasks — in real- or near-real-time — that would otherwise be processed in centralized core or cloud infrastructures. MEC ensures data stays on-site and does not leave the premises, resulting in more efficient, more secure data transport of critical patient records and medical results.
SIMPLIFY WITH A FULLY MANAGED, TURNKEY SOLUTION
Cutting-edge networks that serve multiuse, high-density healthcare facilities are complex. Turnkey network solutions such as a network-as-a-service (NaaS) model can simplify wireless infrastructure for IT leaders. A NaaS model means 5G solutions can be fully managed by an experienced outsourced provider. This allows healthcare executives to avoid day-to-day headaches of network operations and instead focus on what they do best — running successful, efficient hospitals with the best quality of care.
NaaS models consider that most hospitals need to run a range of wireless networks beyond just Wi-Fi or just private networks. NaaS supports all wireless technologies, from cellular towers and distributed antenna systems (private networks that work together.
YOUR NETWORK CHECKLIST
Hospitals around the world are grappling with how to capitalize on technology innovations to improve patient outcomes and operational efficiencies. Stay ahead by prioritizing secure, next-generation connectivity, adopting closed solutions like private networks and outsourcing to experts who can ensure technologies implemented today will propel healthcare operations well into the future.
Article originally appeared on modernhealthcare.com