The concept of telemedicine—using technology to deliver remote clinical services to patients—has been around for quite a while. The current shift to remote everything, however, has made telemedicine a necessity for virtually all non-critical healthcare. This means that healthcare organizations everywhere, ready or not, are forced to support telemedicine right now. But to be effective, telemedicine requires a strategy and network infrastructure that can support its unique needs. If you’re one of those providers who needs to make that shift, here are some key requirements to consider.
There are a lot of technologies that can transform the way you communicate with and treat patients. Chatbots can help with diagnosis and triage. Wearables enable clinicians to track specific health conditions of patients right from their homes. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can extract and analyze data from multiple systems to improve diagnosis and treatments, and can even be used to streamline the claims process. These are just a few examples of available enabling technologies and how they can be used. As you embark on your telemedicine journey, consider all the ways you can transform how your healthcare organization operates. It’s important to factor these into your planning so you understand what your infrastructure must support.
Communication and Collaboration
When the bulk of your interactions—with patients, administrators, and other clinicians—is remote, you need reliable and easy-to-use communication and collaboration features. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) provides voice, collaboration, messaging, contact center, and other capabilities within a single solution, allowing users to communicate and share information from wherever they are, through any mobile device or laptop.
Connectivity and Bandwidth
Digital connectivity is the key to enabling telemedicine, but there are many different types of connectivity—like SD-WAN, broadband, MPLS, wireless—that serve differing needs. You need to make the right decisions to support your specific telemedicine requirements, so your infrastructure never gets in the way of patient care. Your bandwidth requirements are a big part of that equation. Because telemedicine often uses high-bandwidth applications, such as video or transmission of large medical imaging files, make sure you understand your requirements and plan accordingly, so your network delivers the performance you need.
With such a heavy reliance on technology, downtime in your telemedicine systems can affect patient care. To ensure reliability, you need to build failover and redundancy into your infrastructure to avoid disruptions. And while it’s never pleasant to think about, you must build a disaster recovery plan so in the event of a catastrophe operations can be resumed as quickly as possible.
Security and HIPAA Compliance
Of course, all your telemedicine infrastructure and systems must be secure and fully comply with HIPAA requirements.
BCM One Can Help Get Your Network Telemedicine-Ready
When you work with BCM One, you get a trusted partner with deep experience delivering technology solutions to healthcare organizations. We can help you plan, design, deploy, and manage a robust, secure, HIPAA-compliant infrastructure to support your telemedicine strategies. Contact us to learn more.