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How fibre networks will transform healthcare services

As healthcare professionals face a future of supporting an aging population, they look to technology for solutions. 

With the availability of secure, reliable fibre optic networks, healthcare facilities can implement big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to deliver personalized treatment and improve the quality of patient care while reducing operational costs.  

Big data in healthcare analytics

Imagine information that is so large and complex that humans are incapable of analyzing it – that’s big data! Health care facilities have been collecting patient data long before the concept of big data was around. New analytics tools allow healthcare providers to leverage their data to improve care and deliver transparency to patients. 

An example of transparency in action can be found in the interactive tool recently launched by the Health Quality Council of Alberta. This platform, part of an ongoing program called FOCUS (Fostering Open Conversations that Unleash Solutions), allows patients and caregivers to see what is happening in the 16 busiest emergency rooms in the province. Data collected from these facilities is summarized into 18 measures of performance. 

With big data, healthcare providers can identify trends in patient behaviour that can lead to early diagnoses for some patients and early detection of outbreaks of infectious diseases. In the U.S., the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee has partnered with data analytics firm Fuzzy Logix to address opioid addiction by using big data, and predictive modeling to identify early indicators that a patient may develop a substance abuse problem. 

Cloud computing speeds healthcare research

Cloud computing is any data storage or processing that happens off-site, typically in data centres. Cloud services enable collaboration between healthcare providers and continuity of care for patients. Cloud tools are also accelerating research.  For example, at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai data sets of more than 100 terabytes used for cancer research are being stored and analyzed in the cloud. 

One of the barriers to using the cloud in Canada has been the security at the network and the data centre level.  According to Vice President of Business and Cloud Ecosystems at Level 3, Brian Hoekelman, “healthcare organizations need to have confidence that the network is going to perform before they start moving applications to the cloud.” 

These barriers have been lifted. A dedicated fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network protects valuable patient information while supporting blazing fast data transfer. Major companies like Microsoft and Amazon have data centres in Canada now, which means that patient information can be processed in the cloud without crossing international boundaries. 

IoT connects wearables to medical records

The healthcare world has embraced the IoT, particularly wearables. Consumers already use IoT wearables like Fitbit and iHealth to track their health and physical performance. These insights can improve patient care if they are integrated with electronic medical records. 

Integration of data collected from wearables enhances the quality of care for patients with chronic illnesses.  An example of this is a 24-hour glucose monitoring system, the iPro2, that integrates with Fitbit data to improve glucose control for patients with type 2 diabetes.

Vancouver's Reliq Health is working on a pilot study in the UK in which patients with chronic illnesses use a mobile platform that replicates the services of hospital care. Using a smartphone, patients can monitor vitals and receive alerts indicating when they need to take medication or do physical therapy. Adherence to treatment regimes is monitored, and this data is shared with healthcare providers.  

According to MobiHealth News, by 2020, four million patients all over the world will be monitoring their health remotely. This means these patients will receive an unprecedented level of care! 

Now, more than ever, healthcare facilities can embrace technology knowing that fibre  infrastructure has the speed and security needed for the mission-critical data involved in saving lives.

For more information on our fibre connectivity solutions, contact your Axia salesperson at sales@axia.com or 1-866-773-3348.

 

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