Next generation wireless technologies have arrived, promising to transform hospitals into intelligent buildings and realize the full potential of digital health apps, automation, robotics and more. However, with aging infrastructure, cybersecurity concerns, and already constricted budgets, what can healthcare leaders realistically achieve? What trends are worth the investment?
In the wake of the global pandemic, 2021 became the year of digital transformation. Healthcare executives and systems were forced to adapt, innovate and prioritize the concept of “going digital.” 2022 will not bring us backwards. The race for progress has begun and hospitals around the world are figuring out how to successfully create a digital first environment—from operations to patient communication.
When it comes to hospital connectivity trends, here’s what to focus on in the year ahead.
5G is the First “G” for Hospitals
5G cannot be ignored or pushed to the backburner. According to recent report from Accenture, 92% of healthcare executives believe that their organization’s ability to generate business value will increasingly be based on the limitations and opportunities of their technology architecture.
What 3G and 4G did for consumers by putting the internet in their pockets, 5G is set to do for healthcare by connecting billions of things. 5G’s fast speeds, flexibility and security open new opportunities for hospital and medical center operations. Think connected wearable devices, robotics, asset tracking, smart utilities—all of it.
To enable this connected future, hospitals can no longer rely on public Wi-Fi networks or dated wired setups. Traditional Wi-Fi networks—while fitting for non-critical administrative needs—can pose security, bandwidth and reliability issues for hospital IoT deployments. Tedious wires prohibit mobile care where patients need to move room to room. 5G technologies overcome these challenges, making 2022 the year for hospital executives to adopt and implement a cohesive 5G strategy.
Mitigate Cyber Risk and Prioritize Security with a Private Network
Building the right connectivity backbone for a hospital campus requires 5G capability, but in today’s environment it must also prioritize security. Nearly every day we read about security breaches at businesses of all levels. As threats become more sophisticated, 2022 promises to be another year where robust network security reigns supreme.
Private networks are a go to 5G solution for creating a secure, connected hospital environment. They serve as closed, dedicated networks that securely power use cases that elevate patient care and retain valuable hospital staff. When deployed by a Network as a Service (NaaS) connectivity provider like Boingo, the private network incorporates a layered cybersecurity architecture that protects data and safeguards assets. This level of security gives hospital IT executives the confidence to connect important use cases, from security video system management to on-demand electronic health records, connected utilities and increased point-of-care testing.
Unlike a typical public Wi-Fi network shared by many unknown users and applications, solutions like a Boingo Private Network can be installed utilizing cellular LTE technology offering enhanced security and more control over the exact network location. The dedicated bandwidth of a private network makes it possible for hospitals to securely connect more devices wirelessly without quality concerns when additional devices are deployed.
Improve Business Intelligence with Informative Data
5G, security and—data. Data management is the third trend to incorporate into your technology roadmap. In recent years, we’ve started unpacking the inherent power in understanding the daily data a business/consumer generates. Today, one of the most common questions I field is “how can we better understand and responsibly make use of our data?” The answer is in the data itself as it will use AI and other advanced technologies to automate decisions and recommend improvement areas. Does the respiratory ventilator need maintenance? Look at the data. Is the MRI scanner due for an update? Look at the data. Advanced hospitals should pair their connectivity network with a data lake to set thresholds that continuously monitor and send alerts when attention is needed.
Given the importance of data, ensure the wireless network you deploy at your hospital provides access to your network data. When you partner with a NaaS provider, they can guarantee you have ownership of your network data. This relationship takes the daily management hassle off your plate and can provide your IT team with a dashboard that’s configured to automatically digest network data and populate the metrics you are most interested in.
The healthcare industry is facing a monumental shift and short-term goals should focus on laying the foundation for a 5G future. Start investing in networks that are scalable, tap into private networks for enhanced security, bandwidth and data access. Lastly, establish a team of experts to help guide you forward—hospitals can no longer go it alone and no longer have to.
For more information visit www.boingo.com/healthcare.
About the Author
Michael J. Zeto III is a seasoned executive with a successful track record of leading high growth initiatives. He currently serves as chief commercial officer at Boingo Wireless, where he is responsible for driving growth and results across 5G, private networks, Wi-Fi 6/6E, IoT and smart cities.
About the Company
Boingo is one of the largest operators of indoor wireless networks in the United States. Take advantage of Boingo’s 20+ years of experience, fully managed services, converged cellular and Wi-Fi network solutions, 24x7 network management and on-demand insights to power your hospital’s digital transformation. www.boingo.com