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Health IT Leaders: Networks Will Have to Improve for Wireless Technologies

May 6, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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According to a new study from HIMSS Analytics, the analytics arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), healthcare leaders are increasingly concerned on how they will accommodate the increased use of wireless technologies and devices in a hospital setting from a network perspective. Overall, these leaders say even though current IT networks are good for now, they will have to improve in the future.

The study, which was supported by Comcast Business, was an overview of the challenges and barriers, as well as the strategies in IT network implementation in today’s hospital environment. It looked to determine what IT leaders were prioritizing when it comes to networks and infrastructure. IT leaders were interviewed for the study at the HIMSS13 conference in New Orleans.

“We found that IT network priorities for all participating hospital systems were consistently focused around accommodating greater mobile and wireless connectivity to their networks,” Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research for HIMSS Analytics, said in a statement. “Simultaneously, the IT leaders were also concerned with ensuring the security of patient data, particularly as they relate to the challenges associated with Bring Your Own Device environments.”

Mobile was a consistent theme throughout the report. Participants said they use various networks, from Wi-Fi to DSL lines, to establish a network. However, they say, the number of wireless versus wired devices was growing exponentially.

Also, they cited the need for “zero downtime,” since a lot of data is housed in a cloud-type environment and “physicians are data hungry.” It also talked about the need for good disaster preparation.

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