Social media and new mobile devices are having a huge impact on the way people communicate with each other every day, and it’s no less true among hospitals, doctors and patients. That opens up exciting opportunities, enabling patients to take a more active role in their health. But it also puts extra infrastructure demands on hospitals—even large organizations—that must be able to maintain secure and accessible communications both within and outside their walls.
I recently had a conversation about that challenge with Paul Conocenti, vice president and vice dean at NYU-Langone Medical Center in New York. In his view, the prospect of mobility, cloud computing and global communications means that hospitals have to be highly effective in communicating both internally and outside the organization, whether regionally or globally. He says hospitals will have to move fast to keep up as more devices are finding their way into people’s hands. Younger physicians don’t communicate the traditional way, and many are on Facebook and are avid users of social networks, he says.
Conocenti notes that the combination of mobile devices and cloud computing is a daunting challenge to those charged with balancing security with accessibility. NYU-Langone has followed a strategy of a private cloud model that offers users a way to communicate on their own terms, while giving the hospital a measure of control.
That has dovetailed with the medical center’s mandate to connect with affiliated providers. “Our strategy is to connect communities,” Conocenti says. As a major academic medical center, NYU-Langone has made significant investments in its infrastructure, he says. “We are making these solutions available to our affiliate physicians who are part of our community.” Its infrastructure investments it has made are a viable option for affiliated providers that need to have better connectivity with each other outside the hospital walls.