How the Network's Strategic Impact on Healthcare Can Transform the Future


In the ever-changing world of healthcare, technology stands out as a major force of change. Even though healthcare has often been slow to adopt new technology, recent events have sped up its embrace. In the webinar called "Overcoming IT Pain Points to Advance the Clinical Experience," featuring Doug McDonald and Ryan Smith from Extreme Networks and B2B Technology Influencer, Evan Kirstal, participants focused on how patient care has come to lean so heavily on IT network infrastructures and why settling up on technical debt may be the first stop to unlocking the future of healthcare. Let's dive in and explore the major takeaways from this insightful session.

The Pulse of Modern Healthcare

In the dynamically evolving realm of healthcare, the compass is now set towards a broader and more inclusive horizon. This shift is not just about treatment or cure but an all-encompassing, total experience. This sentiment echoes a deeper understanding that healthcare is not limited to the confines of a hospital or a clinic. The entire ecosystem, from administrative staff to clinicians, plays a vital role in shaping it.

Beyond the conventional realm, there is a pressing need to consider technological advancements that can support and enhance this paradigm shift, and the industry recognizes how this shift influences where new investment needs to go. Technology’s role is now not just limited to diagnosing or treating ailments but also in ensuring that the healthcare experience is seamless, efficient, and patient-centered. To truly tap into the pulse of modern healthcare, there's an urgent need to step beyond traditional confines. It means understanding patients' entire journey, optimizing every touchpoint, and ensuring that the best technology and infrastructure support patients and their families in addition to healthcare providers. This transformational shift is not a mere trend—it's the new heartbeat of the healthcare industry.

The Challenge of Diminishing IT Support

It's not all sunshine, though. A key challenge lies in the diminishing availability of IT support. An inefficient network is like a clogged artery, impeding the flow of healthcare delivery without proper support. This paints a picture of the IT network’s importance - it's the artery ensuring healthcare services.

This issue isn't isolated to just one segment of the healthcare industry. It permeates them all, with many institutions facing significant IT challenges, leading to inefficiencies and potential delays in IT projects and support. Many of which could enhance clinical productivity and patient care. The significance of these threats is amplified when considering the increasing reliance on technologies like AI and ML. Without a robust IT foundation, even the most advanced technological tools become hamstrung by the network they operate on.

Moreover, this dwindling IT support isn't merely a technical challenge—it has very real, tangible effects on patient experiences. Patients come into healthcare institutions with the hope and expectation of receiving seamless care. However as emphasized in the webinar, when the backbone, the IT system, fails or falters, the patient's experience is directly impacted, often leading to dissatisfaction and unnecessary patient stress. Looking ahead, the need for stronger IT support and infrastructure becomes even more pronounced. As healthcare continues its digital evolution, we must ensure that the tools and technologies employed have the supporting structures they need to function optimally. Investing in IT is not just about keeping up with the times—it's about ensuring that our healthcare systems can deliver the quality of care that patients deserve.  Yet, significant technical debt still exists in healthcare.

Navigating Technical Debt in Healthcare

The looming challenge of technical debt in healthcare is growing, a term encapsulating the costs of short-term IT fixes over comprehensive solutions. As clinical and IT support staffing diminishes amidst rising digital demands, IT leaders are forced into immediate solutions, potentially overlooking longer-term infrastructure needs. The webinar vividly paints the scenario, noting a "red line" of accruing technical debt that could result in security breaches or system failures in critical areas. Addressing these problems isn't quick, especially when considering large-scale infrastructure replacements across multiple facilities.

However, the future offers hope. By looking beyond the healthcare sector for solutions, there's potential for innovation and growth. Industries, like Manufacturing or Retail, that prioritize the role the network plays in operations can provide transformative insights. Embracing external knowledge and practices could be the key to offsetting the technical debt and fostering a resilient healthcare IT environment.

A Glimpse into the Future

When focusing on healthcare IT investment in near future, the webinar reinforced this notion, 93% of survey respondents acknowledged the network as a strategic asset. IT Leaders are beginning to see the network is just as important as utilities-- just as a facility can't run without electricity or water, it can't function effectively without a robust network.

Interestingly, while the importance of the network is universally acknowledged, there's a worrying trend of diminishing IT support staff, impacting clinical productivity. This dichotomy presents a challenge that healthcare leaders must address head-on.

However, it's not all dire. A silver lining was found in the fact that 25% of respondents are now prioritizing investments in network growth and expansion. This suggests a forward-looking approach and an acknowledgment of the network's critical role.

A Hierarchy of Needs

As the healthcare sector continues its technological evolution, the emphasis on a strong, efficient, and well-supported IT network will only grow. This webinar served as a poignant reminder of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. As we move forward, it's clear: the network isn't just an IT concern; it's the very "base of the pyramid" on which future healthcare innovations will be built. You can learn more about how the network should be regarded as a a strategic, resilient asset, and how you can assess whether your network and staff are living up to its potential. You must also be cognizant of the risks of cyberattacks on your network. 

Transforming your healthcare operations starts by making your network the strategic asset of your organization.  Figure out your next step by reviewing these resources.

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Extreme Networks
Extreme Marketing Team

Our global marketing team is made up of knowledgeable, passionate, and creative individuals. They promote the advances – and the momentum – of the world’s most exciting networking company through best-in-class events and communications.

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