Digitalization in healthcare: what does it mean for you as an IT professional?

With the digitalization of society, the healthcare sector must not be left behind. Healthcare has to be faster, more efficient and, if possible, less expensive. More needs to be done in less time, and what is done should result in high-quality and personal care.

As a healthcare IT professional you know this all too well. The digitalization of various processes automatically results in an increasingly important role for IT.

Digitalization therefore involves a lot of time and effort, not only for the medical professionals themselves, but in particular for you as a healthcare IT professional.

You need to keep up to date on all the new developments and technologies – and there are a lot of them within the telecom industry – and always keep in mind that these technologies need to be implemented in a safe and secure manner.

Because wherever data can be found online, hackers are lurking. And these hackers must not be allowed to access highly sensitive data.

In short: there is lot of pressure on the IT infrastructure. So it’s no surprise that you get frustrated from time to time!

In our blog you can read more about technologies and developments in healthcare, how to set up a secure IT infrastructure using Dark Fibre, and how we have been doing this for Deventer Hospital in collaboration with Fujitsu for more than ten years.

What exactly is eHealth?

It is the use of digital applications to support – and actually improve – healthcare.

Some examples?

  • General practitioner consultations via webcam or email
  • Refilling prescriptions online
  • Online therapy with psychologists
  • Electronic patient records
  • The exchange of patient information
  • The use of measurement devices that can be connected to wireless devices such as smartphones and tablets, so that doctors can monitor patients remotely.
  • Apps used to collect health data in a personal digital health environment, so patients gain insight into their own health and can easily share this with, for example, informal carers
  • The use of a portal in which patients can make appointments or ask questions
  • Robot-assisted remote surgery

Advantages and risks of digital applications

First and foremost, more efficient care can be provided. Thanks to your correct implementation of all digital applications, medical professionals can easily exchange information and consult with each other. Because this information is available 24/7, diagnoses can be made faster and customized care can be provided quickly.

It also cuts down on paperwork and therefore saves a lot of time. The advantage for the patients themselves is that they have more control, because information and their own health data are available online.

But digitalization in the healthcare sector also involves risks, again particularly for IT.

As well as the fact that it makes healthcare less personal and that some patients and healthcare providers may not be completely ready for all these technologies, the ‘danger’ lies primarily in all the sensitive data being available online. Healthcare institutions must adhere to the rules of the GDPR, and they want to adhere to these rules, because sensitive patient information must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. Moreover, a stable and scalable network is needed, because processing all this data requires a lot of bandwidth. It is up to you as a healthcare IT professional to scrutinize the IT infrastructure!

A fast, safe and reliable network

To ensure that eHealth works as effectively and securely as possible, the entire IT infrastructure needs to be carefully examined. Above all, a network must be secure, because it involves the transmission of highly sensitive data. Scalability is also important, as even more digital resources may be used in the future.

Dark Fibre, or unlit fibre optic cable, provides the solution in this case. A Dark Fibre connection is the most secure, because it is a private connection. Because a Dark Fibre network is ‘lit up’ using your own equipment, you have more control over the security of your connection. In addition, Dark Fibre offers optimum scalability, unlimited bandwidth and a high degree of stability.

For even better data security, the light signal can be encrypted. You can read more about this in our blog on encryption.

Secure data traffic Deventer Hospital

Medical professionals at Deventer Hospital want to have access to the right patient information 24/7 in order to be able to provide high-quality care to the more than 300,000 patients admitted to the hospital for short or longer periods of time. And access to this information must be provided in a secure and efficient manner.

In order to achieve this, the hospital and general practitioners’ cooperative Deventer and surrounding area, worked with Relined Fiber Network and Fujitsu to create the Salland Broadband Network; a dedicated network, including the underlying IT infrastructure and workstations. Relined’s reliable Dark Fibre connections are used for this network.

Would you like to know how this collaboration came about and why Deventer hospital has been opting for Relined solutions for over ten years? Then click here for the customer case study.