Revolutionizing Healthcare Communication with Astound’s Fiber Solutions

According to a study by Statista, the global healthcare sector generates more than 19 terabytes of clinical data alone each year.1 Today, approximately 30% of the world’s data volume is generated by the healthcare industry, fueling the demand for more robust healthcare communication, and that number will only increase.

In recent years, advancements in medical sciences and technology have created countless innovations in healthcare from new imaging techniques to drug therapies, vaccines, biometric monitoring equipment, smart wearables, and more. These technologies yield mountains of data that are accessed by physicians, administrative personnel, and caregivers to make critical healthcare decisions.

But beyond the gigabytes of patient records, insurance information, test results, and clinical research data lies another element contributing to healthcare providers’ huge consumption of data that specifically affects network bandwidth: real-time communications.

Spurred by the pandemic, the public’s acceptance of video conferencing has led to exponential growth in telemedicine, a critical part of modern healthcare communication, allowing medical professionals to consult with colleagues and treat patients remotely.

However, most healthcare institutions do not have the network bandwidth to accept large file transfers while supporting several doctors sharing high resolution medical images with specialists or conducting telehealth visits and discussing diagnoses and treatment plans with patients in real-time, at the same time, over the same connection.

Now add layers of security to protect confidential patient information and you need a very large pipe to handle it all. The trouble is that most medical practices and hospitals (except new builds) are about 10 years behind on technology. Their networks tend to be running on coaxial cable, not fiber. This article presents several reasons why healthcare providers need high bandwidth connectivity, and how upgrading to modern fiber-based network solutions from Astound can help drive success in the healthcare industry.

Why the healthcare industry needs a lot of bandwidth

As healthcare becomes increasingly digitized, medical professionals and hospital networks require high bandwidth connectivity to handle the wide variety of network and video services needed to satisfy patients and provide quality care, due to:

  • Increased use of high-resolution medical images and large file transfers
  • Concurrent needs of multiple patients being treated simultaneously
  • Sharing images and data across multiple devices and locations
  • The rise in electronic health record (EHR) systems and the need for home-based workers to connect to EHR and billing systems remotely
  • Telehealth video conferencing call quality can be impacted (freezing, pixelation, dropped connections) with too many simultaneous users
  • Data streams generated by remote patient monitoring and wearable devices play an essential role in healthcare communication, providing real-time insights to medical professionals.
  • Increased use of CCTV and real-time video monitoring in hospitals and long-term care facilities
  • Marketing, communications, and entertainment needs ranging from digital signage in ER waiting rooms to HD television streaming and web surfing in every patient room

Ensuring Security in Healthcare Communication Systems

Healthcare is one of the most highly regulated industries for information privacy. Strict compliance policies like HIPAA have steep fines for patient privacy violations, making network security and protection of healthcare communications, including EHR data, critical for every healthcare provider.

Add the constant threat of cyberattacks on unsuspecting users carrying unprotected wireless devices in a healthcare facility and there is a clear need for system-wide, end-to-end data encryption that is best facilitated by a high bandwidth fiber network with private secure connections.

Criteria for Selecting an ISP for Optimal Healthcare Communication

The most important thing for all healthcare organizations, regardless of size, is to seek out a provider that offers a fiber optic network with 24×7 support; one that is willing to work with you to meet the unique needs of your facility.

Again, most older buildings housing healthcare-related businesses are running coaxial cable behind the walls. Yet fiber is required to carry the massive amount of data needed to effectively and securely transmit today’s medical workloads of high-resolution images, enable concurrent video communications for telemedicine visits, and bring HD video and streaming services to every room in a facility.

Fiber provides the most reliable, secure, and scalable internet connections, forming the backbone of effective healthcare communications. Your chosen provider should be ready, willing, and able to modernize your operations with fiber.

Other characteristics to look for in a fiber-enabled ISP include:

  • The ability to meet all connectivity needs – data, voice, and video
  • Low latency and redundancy for fast, reliable operations
  • Customization capabilities that allow current workflows or proprietary processes to remain in place
  • Support for encrypted communications and robust security measures to share patient data without risk
  • Availability of dark fiber (fiber optic cables currently not in use) to create a private network with dedicated internet access for multi-location healthcare organizations
  • Serial-to-Ethernet connectivity solutions to extend the life of existing equipment
  • Scalability for today and tomorrow with the resources to grow with your organization over time

Astound’s Fiber Network: A Key to Robust Healthcare Communication

In today’s increasingly digitized world, effective healthcare communication is not just a convenience but a necessity. With Astound’s modern fiber-optic network, healthcare providers can ensure secure, efficient, and responsive communication to enhance patient care.

Astound white paper examines the reasons why healthcare providers need high bandwidth connectivity.Astound checks all the boxes. Our modern fiber optic network taps into over 100 data centers across the country and serves eight of the top ten U.S. metropolitan markets. We stand ready to upgrade your infrastructure with fiber to deliver the bandwidth and network security healthcare providers of all sizes need to keep pace with the industry’s insatiable appetite for data.

We invite you to download our white paper, Data Bandwidth: Critical to Healthcare Providers to learn more about how Astound Business Solutions can improve productivity and streamline communications with patients to realize better outcomes using fiber.