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Build a Mission-Critical Network in 4 Easy Steps

Mobile, Social, Cloud, and Big Data are just some of the mega trends impacting and driving growth in every industry, but what impact are those trends making on healthcare IT departments?


Now more than ever clinicians are demanding for the ability to use their personal devices at the point of care. Meaningful use is driving initiatives for expanded EMR (Electronic Medical Record) and EHR (Electronic Health Record) roll-outs. Social media is driving increased communication between clinicians and patients. Researchers are clamoring for the ability to analyze and dissect the mountains of data being created from our constant connectivity requirement .

But with the constant focus on these trends and requirement for the latest “cool tech” product, a forgotten cog in the wheel is the network backbone that is delivering these life- critical applications to the clinicians at the point of care. Is your network ready today and scalable for future growth? Here is a four question checklist.

Is our network optimised for application access?

Applications, and the ability to access those applications is mission critical for clinicians because without that access they cannot treat patients. Designing and optimising network access for mobility is a key aspect of servicing critical healthcare applications and ensuring that your resources not only meet the demand of today but are also ready for the scale of tomorrow.

Do we have end to end visibility & control?

It is easy to mentally couple mobility with wireless, and while wireless visibility in key, it is often the case, that problems with application access are really issues within the core of your network and not the wireless edge. Applications live in the data center, travel across your network and are pushed to your device. Approaching the network with a holistic single-pane-of-glass view with a converged wired, wireless and security management transforms the life of health IT administrators. With application visibility and control throughout the entire network, empowered health IT admins will be able to deliver a consistent and reliable user experience, oh and lets not forget; keep patients alive!

Do we have intelligent network control applications and policy enforcement?

Mobile medical devices access life-critical applications in a variety of ways. The security of those devices should integrate with network security applications and go beyond user/device data to take into account the entire context of the requested access. If a doctor is trying to gain access to patient information, the level of access he is granted should go beyond the fact that he is a doctor and take into account that he is looking for life critical data to treat a patient. Your network should be intelligent enough to know whether that doctor is accessing Epic or Netflix, and provision bandwidth based on the content that is accessed.

Have I achieved user euphoria?

This is a question that is often forgotten among Healthcare IT staff but at the end of the day IT management is judged on the experience of the end user. User euphoria in healthcare is achieved not only through mission critical access to the network but that mission critical access may come at a time when the ER is flooded, and clinicians expect network connectivity. Designing a purpose built network focused on application accessibility and end to end visibility and control ensures that your clinicians will connect and stay connected. Couple that with advanced visibility and control to troubleshoot problems in real time and you have a purpose built network for your hospital.

By following these steps healthcare IT professionals can transform their image from the “break-fix” guy to a valued asset to the organization. The only way to truly become an asset you must look beyond speeds and feeds and focus on the only thing that you will be judged on, user experience.

This article originally appeared on the Enterasys Networks website

Topics: Healthcare