Healthcare News & Insights

Technology trends: 3 reasons hospitals should expand IT networks

Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last few years, and if hospitals want to maintain their profit margins, they’ll need to adapt to patients’ evolving tech-related expectations and improve their Internet networking capabilities.

493797439 (1)Gone are the days when people only accessed websites and email via a desktop computer. Now they’re always connected via smartphones and tablets – and they’ll come to expect the same at the hospital.

In the past, blanket bans of cell phones and other electronic technology were commonplace in hospitals, but given the current environment, these sorts of policies won’t fly.

Currently, people not only use their cell phones to talk to others, they also use their wired capabilities to monitor health info like fitness levels, personal vital signs (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate) and medications. So it’s natural for them to want to use their phones to pull up this info in the hospital.

And as this type of technology continues to advance and become more common, mobile devices will be a necessary part of their care and treatment plans.

Options grow for patients

While justification for personal device bans once centered on fears that they’d interfere with hospital equipment, experience has proven that isn’t necessarily the case.

Now, instead of forbidding the use of mobile technology inside their walls, hospitals need to embrace and encourage patients’ use of these devices – and keep it in mind when they’re making changes to their IT infrastructure.

Here are three reasons why this thinking is important, courtesy of Forbes:

  1. More devices have online capabilities. It’s not just smartphones and tablets that can connect to the Internet. Hospital medical devices are able to take vitals and transmit them wirelessly to a patient’s electronic health record (EHR). The IT infrastructure in your hospital should be able to handle all this additional traffic to best accommodate patients.
  2. Remote monitoring is becoming a bigger trend. Patients are monitoring their own health with their devices, but many hospitals are also sending patients home with remote devices upon discharge to monitor their conditions, such as wireless scales. IT networks will need to be able to handle this technology, along with the other on-site Internet-capable devices the hospital is using.
  3. Patients are more focused on personalization. Depending on their preferences, people see targeted ads for services they’re likely to use via social media networks. And streaming video services such as Netflix give users personal recommendations based on what they’ve already watched. This technology is poised to expand into hospitals, especially as more patients start using their own personal devices to complete transactions for other businesses, like banks. Tech trends hint that patients will be soon be able to check into the hospital with their portable devices, using them to select their preferences for TV shows and dinner options before they’re even assigned a room.

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