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Better Patient Care Helps Advance Health IT Infrastructure

Organizations looking to significantly improve patient care are looking to more advanced health IT infrastructure to support value-based incentives.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Health IT infrastructure solutions are continuing to grow as organizations seek advanced technology to cut down on costs while adhering to regulatory requirements necessary to protect patient information.

Organizations are faced with making decisions about the future of their infrastructure technology when implementing new systems and solutions. Over the past several years, infrastructure technology has evolved rapidly. IT decision-makers are charged with making future-proof decisions when adopting new technology.

A recent Markets and Markets research report predicts that the healthcare IT market will grow at a CAGR of 15 percent, reaching $280.25 billion by 2021.

Report authors credit the rapid growth to the adoption of health information exchanges (HIEs), electronic health record (EHR) systems, and value-based care incentives. Improved patient care at a lower cost has driven many healthcare organizations to seek advanced technology to automate and ease certain processes.

Two important factors when considering a health IT infrastructure solution are cutting down on the time to produce tangible results and reducing the amount of space and maintenance effort the solutions need. This is true whether the solutions are networking, security, storage, or cloud.

Many organizations are finding that consolidating systems using advanced technology has greatly benefited their organization from an infrastructure level, all the way to clinician and patient interaction.

“A lot of organizations are demanding quick turnkey solutions that are easy to deploy, easy to maintain, easy to configure and they don’t have to take a lot of time integrating all the components in the data center before they can deploy them,” Pivot3 Chief Marketing Officer Bruce Miline told HITInfrastructure.com.

Southern New Hampshire Health (SNHH) recently implemented a hyper-converged infrastructure solution to support their virtual desktop implementation. Hyper-convergence takes up less physical space and allows IT administrators to make the most out of server space.

The hyper-converged infrastructure allows clinicians to gain instant and constant access to their personal desktop environments. Not only is SNHH’s virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) easier for IT administrators to manage and monitor, but it also vastly improves patient-clinician interactions at the point of care.

“There’s a challenge with physicians at the point of care, whether it’s in an admitting room or even just a consult room, logging into all the applications they need to get all the patient information and to capture their patient data as they’re doing their diagnosis,” SNHH Desktop Configuration Engineer Scot Tymowicz told HITInfrastructure.com. “We found that physicians were spending something 10 minutes per engagement logging into all the applications, because every time they went into a new room, they had to log in again as their persona on all those applications.”

Improving health IT infrastructure is not always about converging systems to allow for faster, and more organized deployment. Entities looking to better connect their infrastructure with remote workers or telehealth programs are also dependent on advancing technology.

Children’s Mercy hospital in Kansas City, Missouri implemented a telemedicine program to enable in-home patient visits and provide better, more convenient care for patients. The program required advanced networking technology to connect remote clinicians with the datacenter.

“Cradlepoint is providing Children’s Mercy with very high speed and reliable connectivity though 4G in a very secure way using a VPN to bring the information back to the data center in a way that is HIPAA compliant," Cradlepoint Vice President of Business Development Ken Hosac explained to HITInfrastructure.com. “They can do everything they need to do over that high-speed internet connection without having to rely on wires. Some early attempts tried to use patient in-home networks but it doesn’t work reliably because there is a different environment in every home.”

These advancements in health IT infrastructure are allowing organizations to drastically improve the quality of patient care. As organizations continue to seek out better ways to provide advanced, meaningful care for patients, the need to discover and implement new technology becomes more urgent.