According to a report by Markets and Markets, the global Internet of Things (IoT) healthcare market is estimated to grow from $32.4 Billion in 2015 to $163.2 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 38.1% during this forecast period.
The Internet of Things is becoming a strategic focus for all types of enterprises and industries, but one of the bigger industries focusing its aim on the adoption of IoT is healthcare. As the healthcare industry continues to undergo its transformation to achieve higher quality patient care, better information sharing is a vital factor in improving effectiveness and efficiencies. To this end, healthcare organisations are deploying various IoT applications to increase their ability to send and retrieve information which is critical to improving patient care.
An example of IoT includes connecting medical equipment to the network so that it can transfer its data automatically to central systems for healthcare workers to access from any location – as well as enabling the facility to track the equipment’s location easily. Another application is tracking patients as they move through the facility, for real-time information sharing on their condition.
As well as investing in the Internet of Things to improve internal information sharing capabilities, healthcare organisations are also investing in other technologies to improve their patient services and communications. For example more healthcare buildings are using digital signage to deliver real-time updates to patients and visitors. Remote healthcare workers and emergency service vehicles are also being equipped with mobile WiFi hotspots that enable them to connect to central systems to access and update patient data on the go.
All of these technologies are being enabled by a more flexible approach to networking, combining multiple forms of connectivity into a single solution which unifies Internet of Things, Enterprise and Mobility strategies.
Hybrid Networking in Healthcare
Hybrid networking enables organisations to combine wired, Wi-Fi and cellular into a unified networking solution. For example, traditional networking requirements such as VPN connectivity between multiple healthcare sites may be run over fixed line, while staff and patient WiFi services are run over the wireless LAN. Cellular networks may then be used to connect digital signage applications or connected patient kiosks, keeping these security “weak spots” separate to the primary network.
Cellular may also be used to connect remote healthcare workers and emergency service teams while they’re in the field, enabling them to securely VPN into the central system from any location. With software defined networking, organisations can even ensure that all these connected things can be monitored and managed easily by the IT department – whether connected by 4G LTE, fixed line or WLAN.
With the increasing pressure felt by healthcare organisations to improve care, while reducing costs and efficiencies, hybrid networking is a solution which can deliver to both of these requirements and enable true service transformation for the healthcare industry.