Anyone that is daring enough to work in Healthcare IT deserves a high level of respect.  Healthcare is complex, and managing transformation with so many competing priorities is not for the faint of heart.

Healthcare organizations don’t always have the luxury of state-of-the-art networking solutions. However, network transformation is essential if hospital and medical centers are to provide the best care to their patients. This quandary leaves many IT leaders scrambling to make it all work, especially when there isn’t time and manpower to fundamentally change the network.

Traditional WAN networks can’t adequately support healthcare organizations that have multiple locations and rely on connected medical devices. Healthcare providers should consider switching to software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) to ensure that patient data is being transmitted reliably and securely.

Here’s a look at 5 reasons SD-WAN is the right networking solution for healthcare organizations:

1) Reliability

Reliability and availability can sometimes be a matter of life and death in the healthcare space. Doctors and EMTs must make split-second decisions about how to treat patients, and these decisions must be made with accurate, real-time information. If a network is down or experiences latency, medical teams can’t access electronic health records (EHRs) or share patient data gathered during diagnosis and treatment, and remote team input from specialists during sensitive medical procedures and surgeries could be hampered.

SD-WAN can help improve resiliency and reliability because it offers network redundancy. Eliminating outages lessens the risk to patients created by network downtime. SD-WAN solutions also have built-in tools that improve business continuity, such as load sharing and link balancing. The software in SD-WAN allows for automatic fail over, preventing outages.

efficiency-in-healthcare-organizations-with-firstlight-solutions2) Efficiency

SD-WAN promotes both operational and cost efficiency for healthcare organizations. Efficiency is crucial if hospitals and medical centers are to provide affordable healthcare without sacrificing quality.

The software in SD-WAN automates many processes, ensuring that the network adjusts to meet changing requirements. During the pandemic, network traffic has increased, taxing bandwidth. With SD-WAN, traffic can be rerouted and loads can be balanced so essential applications can perform effectively.

3) Security and Compliance

The healthcare industry is heavily regulated because hospitals handle sensitive and personally identifiable information. Hackers can use stolen healthcare information to commit insurance fraud and identity theft.

In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responded to increasing use of connected medical devices by providing guidance for the secure development of new medical devices. These connected devices must be supported by a secure network for the FDA guidance to be effective.

SD-WAN helps with HIPAA compliance and data security by automating many processes. SD-WAN has built-in security features, such as intrusion prevention and detection. Security policies can be set for traffic segmentation and user authentication. Even internal users can be prevented from visiting risky websites or accessing malware.

reduced-burden-on-network-administration-with-firstlight4) Reduced Burden on Network Administration

Network transformation can be easy for healthcare organizations to achieve with the right service provider. SD-WAN can be set up more quickly and easily than traditional WAN. Zero-touch provisioning allows healthcare providers to bring on new locations with ease.

Centralized management gives your IT team visibility into the entire network. Policies can be developed and implemented across the network. Centralized monitoring empowers the organization to detect and mitigate network problems or shift workloads.  Working with a trusted partner for SD-WAN  can ease the burden on IT, and with the tools and functionality of SD-WAN, healthcare organizations can finally start to turn the corner on reducing complexity and operational burden.

5) Network Support

SD-WAN is only as good as its underlying network. That’s why choosing the right SD-WAN provider is crucial. Moving to SD-WAN creates the opportunity for healthcare organizations to reevaluate their network providers and choose one that offers not only SD-WAN but also a low-latency, high-performance network.

A high-speed fiber optic network will ensure SD-WAN delivers on its promise of speed, ample bandwidth, and high availability. The expected continuation of telehealth c creates a demand for stronger, faster, and more secure underlying networks. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued guidance on telehealth as a way to expand access to healthcare during the pandemic. SD-WAN can support the unified communications (UC) tools needed to connect doctors and patients through telehealth.

Providing the Best Network for Healthcare Heroes

Healthcare workers are front line heroes during the pandemic and other times of crisis, so they deserve the very best technology with which to do their jobs.

Working with FirstLight is a step in the right direction. We have a long history of working with healthcare providers, providing resilient and highly available networking solutions. Our SD-WAN experts can help your hospital or medical center transition to SD-WAN so you can modernize your network. 

Take a deep dive into SD-WAN for healthcare. Read FirstLight’s white paper 5 Things Health Organizations Should Know About SD-WAN.

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