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Lives on the line: How a robust network infrastructure enhances healthcare standards

Ernest Lee, VP Sales, Singapore, Malaysia & Brunei of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise | April 14, 2016
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise's Ernest Lee talks about how death by medical errors is unfortunately plaguing hospitals even into the 21st Century, and are symptomatic of miscommunication.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

The Singapore General Hospital recently reported a Hepatitis C outbreak, affecting 22 patients. While the possible cause of the outbreak has yet to be determined, this recent scare provides a strong indication of what could go wrong in a hospital. Healthcare institutes are one of the most complex environments, with numerous players working together to co-create the patient experience. Each player, whether doctors, nurses, pharmacists or front line staff must function seamlessly as a singular, well-oiled machine to deliver efficient and quality service - a hallmark of world class healthcare standards.

Unsurprisingly, studies have shown that the failure to communicate is a significant factor of adverse clinical events and outcomes. The incredibly large amount of interactions taking place every day, each with different dimensions of complexity leaves a very small margin for error. Even the slightest miscommunication can result in devastating consequences.

Simplify the flow of background information
To minimise communication errors, healthcare institutes should consider investing in a customised business communications solution that is secure and always available. This system should be able to establish a secure audio, Web or High Definition video conference with anyone from any telephone or multiple video endpoint devices, any location, and any browser for spontaneous collaboration.

With a clear, reliable and secure means of communicating and collaborating, medical and admin staff alike will spend less time battling a spotty network connection, or even be saved a physical trip down the corridor to pass information. All this time saved means that staff, be it doctors or nurses will have on average more time to look into the needs of the patient. Lives may even be saved, such as when a pharmacist catches a lapse in a prescription, and is able to contact the doctor in real-time.

Control communications in real-time
The healthcare sector has evolved to embrace mobility. Medical personnel are now empowered to administer telemedicine, to 'see' patients through video calls, or seamlessly share and pull out patient information via a secured database. 

However, security remains a major cause for concern in the area of healthcare with the proliferation of mobile devices and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. IDC predicts that by the end of 2015, 50 per cent of healthcare organisations would have experienced 1 to 4 cyber-attacks in the year, with 1 in 3 ending up successful. As such, it is important that healthcare institutes invest in solid network security to ensure that patient data is protected, even while keeping it available to those who rely on it. Healthcare providers can look for Local Area Network (LAN) solutions that give them centralized visibility and control over the wireless network, preventing unauthorized access to staff-only networks.


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