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24 Feb

It’s Time to Reevaluate Healthcare IT

Healthcare Industry

Healthcare has shifted dramatically in recent years. Thanks to a rapidly growing population, evolving technology trends, and demand by providers and consumers for real-time information and support, the need for electronic health records has grown substantially.

But healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs) may not be entirely equipped to accommodate the demands of EHR implementation.

“The typical ‘as is’ state of infrastructure in healthcare is characterized by spotty wireless coverage, inadequate network bandwidth, limited-capacity data centers and an overall shortage of redundancy,” Gartner says.

When IT is integrated into critical business systems, like patient records, scheduling and billing, downtime can have negative consequences that extend far across the organization. Most HDOs have begun, or are at least considering, the process of upgrading their infrastructures to handle the demands of EHRs and other electronic systems. This is a costly process for most providers, and it requires the participation of key stakeholders.

We’ve outlined four challenges that HDOs face in our new whitepaper, “Solutions to 4 Common IT Challenges Facing Healthcare organizations.” Here’s the first one:

Many HDOs feel pressure to support an always-on and highly complex infrastructure. A paper-based record-keeping environment has its fair share of limitations, but when a fully digital EHR system is introduced, operations can grind to a halt during downtime, resulting in costly consequences.

For instance, within one North American healthcare delivery organization, it’s estimated that a one-hour outage of an application would cost $24,093. If the outage lasted 24 hours, it could cost the hospital upward of $500,000.

When a business-impacting outage occurs, HDOs may have to delay seeing patients or divert them to another organization is records aren’t available. HDOs also lose productivity and face reputational damage.

Since downtime and slow service are not acceptable, implementing a system that provides a single source of truth within a complex infrastructure and gives real-time information is essential.

When considering upgrades, it would be remiss to not factor in an infrastructure management solution that provides end-to-end visibility into increasingly dynamic and complex architectures. Here’s what’s critical to understand when upgrading your infrastructure:

It’s important to understand where resources are being consumed, when they’re tipping the threshold, and when they are over-allocated. It’s also crucial to understand the baseline of how users interact with the application. Even more essential is instant alerting for when the baseline deviates above or below a threshold that is based on use patterns. This can provide real-time insight into what’s happening in the network

You may think polling the infrastructure every five minutes is enough, but that frequency is woefully inadequate for a critical link that carries latency-sensitive data. Often, down-to-the-second polling is required to gain proper visibility of infrastructure performance issues.

And teams need access to multiple types of data to determine the source of an issue and reduce Mean Time to Repair (MTTR). Being able to pivot from metrics to flows to logs within the same interface allows them to get to the bottom of an issue quickly and move on to solving it.

For three more challenges and accompanying solutions, download our new whitepaper: Solutions to 4 Common IT Challenges Facing Healthcare Organizations.

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