Healthcare IoT Checklist – Speed and Bandwidth

Healthcare providers are increasingly focused on the IoT (Internet of Things, or internet-enabled devices), which make large practice and hospital facility operations faster and more efficient. These smart devices that connect to the internet and each other are speeding communications, lowering costs and improving patient outcomes. 

The number and type of these devices will only grow – are you ready to keep up?  The first step toward a smoothly operating IoT network is to evaluate your devices and the network needed to support them. The more devices, and the speed they require, will determine your future network needs.

IoT Devices – Questions to Ask

  • What is our current network load? 
    • Is there an inventory list that specifically outlines all internet-enabled diagnostic tools, monitors, and computers that connect to our network? 
    • Do we have an understanding of network needs to reliably connect and quickly communicate with and between these devices?
    • If not, how will we gather this data?
  • Will staff be allowed to connect personal phones, tablets and computers in addition to work-related devices?
  • Do we have plans to expand the number of professionals and devices connecting to our network, including telehealth service offerings?
  • Which departments within the facility are using internet-enabled devices?
    • How will we develop device and network plans across departments to meet all needs, including patient care, admissions, and accounting?
    • Who should be part of the network planning process?

Network Needs – Questions to Ask

  • Do we have an understanding of the speed and bandwidth required to support all devices from phones to larger diagnostic tools?
  • What are the security risks involved?
    • Where are we most vulnerable and how will we mitigate the risks?
    • Do we understand federal privacy regulations and requirements as related to our network?
    • Will patients use the same network, or should we have multiple networks?
  • What will our needs be in a year? In 5 years?
  • Will we use our network for other systems like video conferencing and facilitating our phone systems?
  • What are the costs involved in upgrading our internet as more smart devices become available?

Getting started

We are just beginning to realize the amazing capabilities of IoT devices. The healthcare landscape will continue to change and improve with new innovations, just like your network should. The conversations around planning for these devices should start with administrators and include an analysis of the devices you currently use, the devices you plan to use, and the speed, security and reliability you need to keep things running smoothly for years to come.