Drivers and Disruptors in Intelligent Healthcare Network Edge


Much like the clinical environment itself, the connected healthcare campus is dynamic, complex, and critical: thousands of devices and users connect, security measures are enforced, and advanced medical use cases are supported.

The lifeblood or circulator system of healthcare’s connected campus is the IT network solution.  Essential for maintaining critical uptime and fueling innovation, the network is responsible for delivering value-added digital patient experiences, supporting operational assets, powering medical technologies and services – and much more! 

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However, the IT network also creates significant business and technology risk if not configured, maintained, and managed appropriately.  Unfortunately, this is often the case, as severe pain points impacting healthcare’s IT teams are intensifying the already-demand task of managing a healthcare IT network.

Let’s look at the real industry data and examine the healthcare pain points creating this disruption.

Industry Numbers - Connected and Vulnerable Healthcare Environments

These are the real numbers (and real risks) facing connected hospitals and their supporting IT teams.

  • Connected Devices: On average, US hospitals report 10-15 connected medical devices per patient bed; some estimates note there are more than 350,000 connected devices in large hospitals [1]
  • Vulnerable Connections: Over half of all internet-connected devices commonly found in hospitals are vulnerable to cyberattack, a recent report found [2]
  • Cyberattacks in Healthcare: 82% of healthcare organizations have experienced an IoT-focused cyberattack, according to a recent healthcare end user survey [3]
  • Consequences: Ransomware cost hospitals nearly $21 billion in loses last year alone (2021) [4]

A Deeper Dive - Healthcare Drivers and Pain Points

What are the industry trends, technology drivers, and points of vulnerability? Healthcare is more targeted for cyberattacks than any other industry. Learn about a few key drivers and pain points, and how having a resilient network is essential. 

Density, Growth, and Complexity of Devices, Users, IoT/MIoT

Hospitals are highly-connected, complex, and dynamic environments containing thousands of devices and users. Between mission critical devices, IoT/IoMT, and BYOB devices - the number of devices and the amount of data transferred on a hospital’s IT wireless network continues to grow. IoT/MIoT devices in particular pose a much greater security risk; for example, a recent study [3] indicated IV pumps make up 38% of a hospital’s IoT footprint, and 73% of those have vulnerability that would jeopardize patient safety, data confidentiality, or service availability if exploited by a cyber attacker. Smart hospitals can optimize the patient experience and help ward of cyberattacks. 

IT and Clinical Staffing Shortages / Budget Constraints

Healthcare systems are experiencing a shortage of both IT and clinical staff - along with a lack of training and expertise of existing staff for both functions.  Staffing shortages, insufficient expertise, and lack of training all contribute to decreasing employee morale.  All of these factors equate to declining patient care, and disruption of hospital operations with increased churn and burnout for healthcare workers.  Budget constraints are also a common trend experienced across the healthcare industry, including lack of investment in network infrastructure to deliver upon the needs of a modern hospital campus.

Growing IT Complexity and Cybersecurity Risks

The global COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated and elevated existing security threats, and even worse, also created new ones. In general attackers have disproportionately targeted vulnerable and underprepared healthcare organizations, preying on the anxiety and chaos incited by COVID-19. The bigger security issue resides in the expansion of healthcare services and environments brought on by the demand of the pandemic. Extended and remote healthcare sites were created for testing and vaccination efforts; telehealth offerings have also spiked for patient convenience and safety measures. Finally, more healthcare employees and staff were encouraged to work remotely to help prevent viral exposure and spread. All of these factors heighten IT demand and security risk for healthcare. If your networks is not protected from cyberattacks, lives could be at risk. 

Proliferation of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Wireless connectivity plays an active role in enabling healthcare’s digital transformation, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies are critical in allowing devices/users to connect, transfer data, deliver valuable services, and fuel next-gen medical use cases – leading to better patient experiences and operational efficiencies. However, for the reasons cited above and more, the wireless airspace of a hospital is one of the most vulnerable points of its IT network. Healthcare’s IT teams need to mitigate risk. The combined expansion of healthcare’s business footprint with the abundance of Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connected devices makes the need for an all-encompassing wireless monitoring, detection, and prevention solution essential.

Related Resources and Industry Perspectives

Maintaining, optimizing, and advancing a hospital connected campus can be a challenging and precarious task. Learn more about the pain points impacting the healthcare industry today – and equally important how to explore resolving these pain points - by checking out the related assets below!


1. Why Connected Medical Device Security Matters
2. Is Your Hospital Safe from a Cyber Attack?
3. Healthcare Organizations and IoT-Focused Cybersecurity Survey
4. State of Healthcare IoT Device Security 2022

About the Author
Ryan Hall Headshot
Ryan Hall
Sr. Marketing Manager

As the Manager of Vertical Marketing Solutions at Extreme Networks, Ryan T. Hall helps drive strategy and programs for vertical markets at Extreme Networks, with a direct focus on Sports & Public Venues, Retail, Hospitality, and Transportation & Logistics.

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