When Is The Right Time To Upgrade My Medical Facilities’ Connection?

Whether it’s about coverage, hardware or bandwidth capacity, healthcare organizations are continually having to assess their connectivity networks to be sure they’re in line with growing usage demands and environment changes.

But when is the right time to upgrade your connection? Here are 4 indicators or areas of review to help you decide whether that time is now.

Lag With Large File Transfers

Not being able to transfer large image files and other medical data in a timely manner can cause performance problems on the network and productivity issues for physicians and staff. 

This type of issue could indicate an upgrade is needed to improve connectivity and upload and download times whether that’s adding reliable Ethernet Private Lines or secure Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) connections with symmetrical, high-bandwidth options to deliver faster data transfers between locations.

App Performance

Look at your WiFi network from the perspective of the devices and applications that are running on your system to see how upgrades could help.

Threshold for signal strength varies depending on the device and application -- each has specific requirements for latency. Speech recognition software is one app that can be negatively affected by network speed and reliability issues. If the connection fails, a doctor’s dictation could be misinterpreted resulting in inaccurate patient notes and lead to bigger issues down the road. 

User Frustration

Continued complaints from users -- from staff to patients -- are a telltale sign that an upgrade may be needed.

When it comes to connectivity, frustrations can run high, especially when those who are counting on it to do their jobs don’t have what they need. 

It can slow down the overall operation and productivity of your healthcare facility, plus it can be awkward to have to wait for screens to refresh when dealing with patients.

Coverage & Capacity

Devices like wearables, tablets, phones and medical equipment that rely on your network to perform and transfer valuable information require a network design and infrastructure that can meet your performance and security needs. 

Look at your wireless infrastructure and components, such as access points, switches, controllers, firewalls, as well as, software like network access control, to see if they still match up with demand. Assess your facility in terms of capacity and coverage, i.e., high-density areas, floor plan, indoor-outdoor spaces, building materials, etc. 

A Mobility-first Mentality

Secure and reliable WiFi is imperative as patients and staff move about your facility and care moves between locations. 

Mark Coticchia, corporate vice president of innovation for Baptist Health South Florida, says his organization is creating an integrated digital framework that is “consumer friendly, curating data marts to support evidenced-based care, and enhancing EHR to add functionality.”

“Importantly, we recognize that our caregivers also need digital tools to augment their ability to better serve patients,” he says in an interview in Becker’s Hospital Review

“So, concurrent to our patient-facing digital solutions, we are developing digital systems that reduce the time that caregivers spend on administration and facilitate greater engagement with patients.”

That includes investing in technologies that facilitate the migration of care from inpatient to outpatient, to mobile devices and care at home, Coticchia says in the post.