6 Signs Your Healthcare Organization Should Invest in Broadband

 

Are you considering making upgrades to your healthcare organization’s broadband infrastructure and connectivity, but not sure if it’s the right investment?

You’ve come to the right place.

Although every healthcare facility’s telecom and connectivity needs are different, there are a few telltale signs that could indicate broadband investment is needed for your organization.

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1) You’re a large medical organization supporting Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices.

As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, more and more healthcare organizations are adopting Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices to connect patients and clinicians to the network. IoMT refers to the connected system of medical devices and applications that collect data for health IT systems through online computer networks. These devices provide remote monitoring solutions for patients, collect valuable data for diagnoses or analytics, and help organizations save money by reducing readmission rates. In fact, large organizations can have up to three times more connected devices than traditional computers and smartphones. For example, a large organization supporting 30,000 computers connected to the network may also be supporting around 85,000 connected medical devices. Wow!

If your organization is supporting a large amount of these devices, that can put a strain on your network infrastructure leading to bottlenecking, which can prevent clinicians from accessing critical information when they need it. Additionally, the weight of the sheer number of devices makes connecting them to a WiFi network impractical. If this sounds like your organization, broadband investment could be the best option for you. Broadband offers a more reliable connection, can handle more traffic, allows device users to be truly mobile, and is the best option for covering large areas such as rural or remote locations.

2) Your providers and staff are expressing frustration with speed of systems and/or Internet.

Healthcare organizations must handle more software, hardware, and IT tools, and run more cloud-based and/or on-premise platforms, applications, and solutions than ever before. From electronic health records (EHR), insurance coding/billing, business intelligence, population health management, analytics tools and more, there are a host of applications that your providers and staff use every day that heavily rely on the quality of your broadband connectivity and bandwidth.

While there can be many reasons causing these programs to run slowly, one reason could be your bandwidth. System sluggishness or heavy interruptions can severely slow down patient care and has been reported as the greatest source of frustration for healthcare providers dealing with technology. These intense frustrations can cause distress among providers and staff when they can’t do their jobs effectively or efficiently. Mitigate these frustrations by considering investment into your broadband network. 

3) You’re looking to expand your facility’s care through telemedicine or telehealth services. 

Offering telemedicine is proven to increase access to care, increase quality of care, reduce or contain the cost of care, and increase patient satisfaction; however, successful telemedicine requires the support of a robust, redundant, and high-speed broadband network. 

Whether it’s traditional video conference sessions, remote patient monitoring, store-and-forward, or mHealth, telemedicine is a powerful tool and strategy but only when it’s underlying support system, the broadband network, is adequately structured and monitored. If you’re expanding into telemedicine, it’s very important you not only assess the current status of your network but investigate increasing your bandwidth to handle the new traffic levels.

4) You’re currently providing telemedicine sessions but are experiencing AV issues.

Audio and visual (AV) delays, interruptions, and out-of-sync episodes can be frustrating for simple Facetime calls, but these disruptions can have serious implications when applied to a patient care setting. In some instances, like tele-ICU, the patient’s life could be at risk, and the last thing you can afford to happen is connectivity issues causing AV problems or worse, a complete “blackout” or dropped connection.

Your organization has already invested immense time, energy, and money into your telehealth services. Make the most of them by ensuring your broadband is up-to-par for your organization’s needs.

5) Your practice sends or receives large medical imaging files or big data.

Are your scans taking minutes to load? Do you have trouble sending medical imaging due to large file sizes? It’s no secret the size of medical images has grown over the decades, with advanced imaging now taking up gigabytes (GB) of space, often for a single scan. In addition, the sheer amount of data being transferred between internal sites in a medical system and external partners is astounding and will only increase in the coming years as more and more of healthcare goes digital.

If your facility takes, archives, sends, or receives large medical imaging files like X-rays, CAT scans, MRI scans, echocardiography, ultrasounds, and more, you will need more bandwidth to handle these files.

6) You’re a rural provider not receiving funding for your monthly telecom expenses.  

Are you a rural or remote health care provider looking to expand your broadband-enabled healthcare technologies but struggling to find financial support? You’re in luck.

Did you know there’s a dedicated federal funding program designed specifically for you? The Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Universal Service Fund (USF) has a program dedicated to ensuring rural health care providers can afford telecom and broadband upgrades needed for their practice. The Rural Health Care (RHC) program has $581 million to distribute in Funding Year 2018 to participating providers. Don’t let these dollars go to waste! Find out more about the RHC program and how it can help skyrocket your broadband investment with significant financial assistance.


Ready to invest in broadband? If you’re still on the fence, TeleQuality can perform a free network evaluation to assess your connectivity needs at no cost to you.