Providing Care in the Age of the Infinite Enterprise – Three Healthcare IT Questions with No Answers

SUMMARY: In the healthcare industry, three key changes are validating Extreme's Infinite Enterprise vision: Distributed Healthcare, Industry Consolidation and Investment in Early Detection and Prevention. The shift towards distributed healthcare aims to make healthcare delivery more efficient and cost-effective by moving the entry point of patient care closer to the patient's home. The industry consolidation of larger health systems helps streamline the transfer of data and services. The investment in early detection and prevention allows for early detection of potential health issues and allows for quicker action to be taken. Extreme Networks offers solutions that can help organizations face these changes and find new ways of working to deliver better outcomes.

We learned an essential lesson in the early years of the pandemic.  Life had forever changed.  What we considered a novelty, remote working, video conferences, curb-side pickup, telemedicine, remote education and other technology-driven services became the key to survival as the brightest minds worldwide worked diligently to understand and develop a vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 virus known as COVID-19.

Extreme Networks witnessed this change and realized that it would usher in a new era of technology requirements called the "Infinite Enterprise."  Following the pandemic, organizations across the globe would have to address three fundamental tenets:

  1. Infinite distribution - The network reaches all the way to the edge, the home office or the remote worker.
  2. Managed at Scale - The expansive network footprint would need central management, preferably in the cloud
  3. Consumer-centric - The knowledge resident in the network would need to anticipate changing needs of its users and respond in real time.


As we enter the endgame for COVID-19, the endemic status of one of the most virulent threats to our health and safety, we must move from a state of normalcy to a state of naturality. This metamorphosis is taking place in every industry and is especially important in healthcare. These shifts will ultimately lead IT technology leaders to find solutions that facilitate the transformation.

Three key changes are happening in healthcare that is validating Extreme's Infinite Enterprise vision are:

  • Distributed Healthcare
  • Industry Consolidation
  • Investment in Early Detection and Prevention

Distributed Healthcare

It was inevitable for healthcare to make this move. Hospitals have a finite capacity to care for patients. With the ongoing clinician shortages that plagued staffing for years, strategists had to develop ways to lower patient populations in hospital facilities and move them closer to the patient's home.

As a result, we've seen larger systems continue to consolidate the industry in the United States. Government programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, soften their positions on the types of services neighborhood clinics can expect reimbursement from. All in the desire to move the entry point into patient care farther from the hospital and closer to the patient.

The goal here is to make healthcare delivery more efficient and less expensive.

Question #1 - Can your existing network reach as far as clinicians need it to deliver care across the healthcare system and into your patient's home?

Philips Healthcare discusses Distributed Healthcare as a driver in their Future Health Index report -- Read More >>

Industry Consolidation

Large health systems are consolidating their markets through mergers and acquisitions to reach customers. As more facilities and patient capacity move under the control of larger systems, the economies of scale they enjoy give them the reach they need to distribute healthcare and streamline the transfer of data and services from clinics to outpatient centers to specialty care hospitals.

This means that the management of all those resources would also need to be consolidated. Tools would need to be standardized to reduce friction. As the healthcare system grows more extensive, the ability to manage the care of patients, the workflows of clinicians, and the millions of back-office transactions to support the activity would need to be centralized.

Question #2 - Can your existing team quickly integrate the new facilities into your existing workflows and manage everything without getting overwhelmed?

Read this report from KaufmanHall, a healthcare consulting firm, which discusses 2022 M&A activity.

Investment in Early Detection and Prevention

These concepts aren't new. When it comes to concerns about cancer, the mantra has always been about "early detection."  However, following the pandemic, the call for early detection is most evident in the arrival of the home COVID test.

From long lines outside an empty sports complex to buying your COVID test from your local pharmacy, this capability is the delivery of the distribution of healthcare. Now, if you have the sniffles, you can crack open a test, check your status and take action to engage the healthcare system from your home with a positive test.

This is proving to be only the tip of the iceberg.  There are more home care devices on the market than ever before. We're wearing watches that track our heartbeat and sleep patterns, our gait patterns and our noise levels.  This is becoming so commonplace that Best Buy has invested in developing a Geek Squad for healthcare.

Forbes Article: Best Buy Ventures Into Healthcare, Paying $400 Million For Current Health

The sooner we know about a potential issue, the sooner we can take action. It's only a matter of time before these devices can communicate with our existing EMR records and doctors start requesting access to our wearable data.

Question #3 - Do you have the flexibility to securely integrate personal devices into your infrastructure as more clinicians find innovative ways to care for their patients?

No Answers--Today

One of my business school professors, Larry Chonko, would often say, “No answer is often a ‘No’ answer.”  Today, it’s ok if some or all the answers to these questions are “No.” However, there is a tidal wave of new expectations coming, and IT infrastructure leaders in healthcare (and beyond) already have a reputation for saying “No” too often. In the next installment, we’ll discuss strategies that will allow you to face the wave head-on and possibly overcome it with some philosophy from Bruce Lee.

If you’re tired of treading water and want some relief right now, say “Yes” to a meeting with experts from Extreme and discover how other organizations have found a way to deliver better outcomes through new ways of working.

Contact Extreme today.

About the Author
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Ryan Smith
Director of Content Marketing

Ryan is a technology evangelist with a unique mix of software development expertise, marketing strategy leadership, and professional multimedia development.

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