Despite global leadership in the medical field and tremendous medical advancements in the past decades, our nation’s healthcare system has been acutely tested during the pandemic, with healthcare delivery being the most affected. As COVID-19 care has been prioritized, hospitals have witnessed a massive decline in non-COVID-19 patient care in the past few months. Elective surgeries were postponed or cancelled, and emergency care was also deliberated as people abstained from hospital visits. A concerted effort has been made recently to pivot towards contactless care, including telehealth and remote diagnostics. However, the lack of advanced connectivity for caregivers, including doctors and nurses, first responders, as well as staff and patients has had a profound effect on this effort.
Telemedicine, health informatics, digital therapy, augmented/virtual reality and robotic surgeries are all integral to the future of healthcare. Diagnostics, records, surgeries and care all require a superior and secure network connected experience. Besides prioritizing health and wellness, there will be a hyper-focus on improving healthcare outcomes. As we transition to a value-based care approach from our predominantly volume-based care approach today, pragmatic innovations and technology advancements will shape the future of healthcare. Whether it is in the realm of advancing capabilities, reducing costs or increasing efficiencies, technology will drive the future of healthcare management and delivery. Inadequate network infrastructure limits access and capabilities, including speed, bandwidth and reliability, while drastically impeding patient care. The ability of hospitals and caregivers to leverage cutting-edge medical innovation and deliver superior healthcare service must not be marginalized due to the limits of the underlying communications infrastructure and lack of adequate connectivity.
We will share our thoughts, over the coming weeks, on the future of healthcare delivery including innovations to ensure that the best possible care reaches the greatest number of patients. Let’s take health informatics as an example. Roughly 95% of the hospitals in the United States today use electronic health records (EHR) with a large majority using it to improve quality of service, monitor patient safety and identify high-risk patients. However, the sheer amount of records being transferred today alongside the need for real-time access of the records necessitates a purpose-built fiber network to accommodate high-bandwidth and faster access requirements and advanced mobility to address anytime, anywhere connectivity in addition to the ultra-fast and bandwidth-intensive needs.
Secure, ultra-fast and reliable mobile (4G LTE and 5G) and fiber connectivity throughout the healthcare system is of essence. Also imperative is the network connectivity for the patients who need remote care whether in the realm of diagnostics, care or therapy. Whether leveraging a public cellular network or a private LTE/5G network, a superior connected hospital and patient experience needs to be assured. Often labelled as an enabler, technology in the healthcare world is a differentiator.