By Jean-Francois Rousseau

5 ways network analytics drives healthcare digital transformation and improves security

Excellent patient care is a matter of life and death. Visibility from network and application performance monitoring helps you to focus on what matters

Over the past two years, the healthcare industry has faced more challenges than in any other time in modern history courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the more strategic shifts occurring is a renewed focus on network management which drives digital transformation.

Last year, 50 percent of healthcare entities responding to an IDC enterprise networking survey said they were studying ways to develop a more integrated network and strengthen security management. This has been fueled, in part, by a need for better end-user and application experiences as well as support for an increasingly mobile and remote workforce.

Among the key findings, roughly 22 percent of IDC’s survey respondents said they were seeking improved network management tools for automation, visibility, and analytics. This indicates a growing recognition that IT networks in the healthcare industry are critical to patient outcomes, worker productivity, and digital innovation alike.

Shifting priorities for new advantages

Improved visibility and control can provide both strategic and tactical benefits to healthcare organizations and the populations they serve. Some of the benefits include:

  1. Less downtime and decreased slowdowns – The right system can fortify the infrastructure and enable applications to perform better through the speed of data availability. Caregivers don’t have to waste time waiting to access patient records and other information. All of this ultimately helps strengthen the quality of care for patients and reduces administrative headaches.
  2. Simpler technology scaling and adaptation – Detailed network intelligence and insights allow components to be used at higher levels without added risks, and they can be properly upgraded as needed. This gives healthcare entities the ability to control costs while still efficiently providing quality experiences for their staff and patients.
  3. Improved patient care and outcomes – Connected resources (including devices, applications, and data) make service more consistent by providing complete visibility and control over the network. Benefiting both patients and workers.
  4. Fewer security threats – Traffic behavior can be monitored to spot developing problems and threats. Detailed network data also can help direct precise corrective actions.
  5. Greater IT staff productivity – The right solutions will reduce the amount of time staff spend on operational tasks, allowing greater opportunities for tackling strategic initiatives and innovations. The use of common tools and intelligence also breaks down silos and helps foster better collaboration for improved project outcomes.

    Fast and reliable communication and collaboration – As telemedicine is more widely accepted and deployed, a strong network management system is necessary to ensure that an efficient virtual healthcare environment is set up with high-quality communications and collaboration.

How network analytics helped the Luxembourg Institute of Health

Network and application performance monitoring can be an important focus for healthcare IT staff. With this in mind, the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), a public biomedical research organization, needed a solution that would help alleviate the burden on IT, ensure that end users had very high-quality experiences when using applications, and accelerate troubleshooting across the infrastructure. LIH opted to implement Accedian Skylight.

Having the right solution for its needs has given LIH complete visibility with real-time, easy-to-use dashboards and continuous monitoring of key applications, including the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, database, Windows-based programs, and file-sharing systems. This has improved network and application performance across the entire IT infrastructure as well as overall IT operational, change, and project management. Any issues that are identified now have a shorter resolution time, and the risk of system degradations has been mitigated. Software migrations, rollouts, and application deployments also have accelerated.

These back-end advantages have strengthened IT resources and productivity at LIH. Staff no longer need to spend as much time analyzing, assessing, and tracking user issues and complaints. The team also has better synergy with other lines of business, so they can leverage data-based insights into architecture, infrastructure, and network performance. In addition, LIH is able to identify any cybersecurity threats and potential hacks, quickly respond to them, and prevent any significant financial or operational impacts.

Healthy networks lead to better health outcomes

With pressure mounting to provide reliable patient care while staying conscious of cost, the strength of an enterprise’s network is an important component to managing these competing interests. The ability to troubleshoot quickly across the IT infrastructure is critical to reducing bottlenecks and security threats. It’s also imperative to ensure that clinicians and other staff have access to patient records and other data as quickly and easily as possible.

Harnessing the power of technological innovations in both patient care and IT operations can be a huge asset to healthcare organizations. You read can more about this topic in the IDC Info Snapshot, The Network in Healthcare: 2021 and Beyond. The snapshot explores network and other issues facing healthcare entities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.