The current global health crisis has highlighted the value of virtual health through telehealth, telemedicine, or remote patient monitoring. Due to lockdowns and community quarantines, healthcare organizations, ranging from large hospitals to small independent physicians, are now adopting telehealth systems to continue providing services to their patients.
Recognizing the advantages of virtual health, the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Privacy Commission (NPC) released a set of “Guidelines on the Use of Telemedicine in COVID-19 Response” last April. This joint memorandum aims to enable patients to receive health services even while staying at home, except for emergencies or to avail of COVID-19-related health services as per standing protocols.
As the adoption rates continue to skyrocket among healthcare facilities, physicians, and patients, use case applications for telehealth are continuing to expand across the healthcare environment—from mental health providers and physical therapists to small physician offices and large health systems. Healthcare providers utilize virtual health for online video telehealth visits, remote patient monitoring, virtual education, and management of billing and online payments, to name a few.
For Vertiv, a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, the rise of virtual health, on the other hand, is straining the health IT infrastructure and creates new challenges among healthcare providers.
“Now that we currently face a pandemic, most healthcare systems struggle to support the volume of data generated by the virtual health approach. Healthcare providers, including hospitals, retail clinics, outpatient facilities, and physicians, must ensure that their IT infrastructures are built to support the range of virtual health services, being delivered today,” said Jason Lim, the country manager of Vertiv Philippines.
To ensure the seamless delivery of virtual health services, Lim listed three things that healthcare providers must consider in ensuring the successful implementation of virtual health technologies.
Build redundancy into the telehealth infrastructure
Healthcare organizations must ensure that they have dependable internet connection and bandwidth, suitable for the data volume and high-resolution imaging. They also need to establish backup power protection for computers and network apparatus, as well as to consider data sovereignty, data privacy, security, and regulations.
Modernize legacy infrastructure
To support the next generation of computational, storage, and communication capabilities, healthcare organizations may also need to modernize their infrastructures.
As healthcare facilities add hundreds of devices and thousands of sensors to their already overloaded network, it will be vital to assess their existing infrastructure for weak spots that could potentially bring their network down. Many healthcare systems were long overdue for technology updates even before the pandemic. There have also been some inadequacies in management, monitoring, security, and even back up power, which plague the health IT environments.
With the growth of telehealth, there is an opportunity to get the needed funding for upgrading critical infrastructure devices in support of next-generation digital healthcare that delivers increased bandwidth, added security, and added computational, storage, and communications capabilities.
Leverage the power of edge computing
Innovative digital healthcare technologies and the rapid growth of telehealth is generating large amounts of data, from a variety of sources, and at greater velocity than ever before. Leveraging this data can help healthcare providers gain deep insights that can ultimately improve patient outcomes, boost workforce productivity, and improve the revenue streams for healthcare providers.
By leveraging edge computing, an approach where health IT infrastructure or IT network services closer to where their customers are, healthcare providers will be more equipped to collect, analyze, and secure the influx of telehealth data for making faster, more informed decisions at the point of care. Deploying an edge architecture enables data processing close to the source promoting greater security and efficiency while reducing both cost and strain on bandwidth.
As IT becomes an integral part of today’s new era of telehealth, Vertiv aims to bring together cutting-edge Healthcare Solutions that can help healthcare providers to meet the growing demand for always-on connectivity, while managing security and costs, and do it with fewer resources and tightening budgets.
Vertiv’s Healthcare Solutions also help ensure uninterrupted operations, optimal performance, and scalability of data centers, communication networks, and other critical IT facilities. To learn more about how Vertiv supports the continuity of today’s vital business applications, visit Vertiv.com.