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Healthcare issues have dominated the headlines this year. Many providers are doing all they can just to keep up. But even before COVID-19 emerged, health organizations faced plenty of challenges. Digital transformation is underway across the industry, and organizations have been moving aggressively to improve their policies, processes, workflows, and IT environments.

These initiatives enable better healthcare experiences and improve efficiency, but they also make IT more complex. According to a January, 2020 ESG survey, 66% of healthcare respondents believed their IT environment was more complex than it was two years ago.

Legacy Network Infrastructures Are Limited

What’s driving this escalating IT complexity? Today’s healthcare professionals use a growing variety of applications, many of which depend on new modern architectures. Data security and privacy regulations remain a challenge. These changes are happening as more organizations are supporting remote and mobile workers, and offering new telehealth and virtual care services.

As healthcare trends evolve, new challenges are emerging for organizations that still rely on legacy network infrastructure like MPLS. Traditional infrastructures are expensive, take time to provision, and have limited availability in some areas. For organizations that need to connect remote locations to their data centers, legacy infrastructures face serious limitations, including:

  • Inadequate security, as the shift to working from home increases the attack surface for healthcare organizations
  • Lack of network visibility, as organizations support highly distributed locations, remote workers, and an ever-increasing number of devices connecting to the network
  • Budget concerns, as organizations look to balance innovation and operational budgets, while focusing on keeping employees safe

To Achieve Transformation, Healthcare Needs Innovative Technology

Escalating healthcare challenges are daunting, but they’re not impossible to tackle. By putting the right technologies in place, health organizations can empower their teams and deliver the secure, performant, and agile connectivity they need to thrive in the new normal. The solution they choose should offer:

  • Ease of use, with centralized operations and management; simplified control and enforcement of global policies; and the ability to deploy and modify the correct processes, policies, and workflows. It should also support cloud-based management, enabling IT teams to securely administer the system from anywhere.
  • Secure access and transport, with zero-trust network access for secure and optimal access to healthcare applications, personal healthcare information (PHI), and other confidential data. Safe, frictionless access is key for work-from-home employees and clinicians delivering telemedicine and other services.
  • End-to-end network visibility, enabling administrators to easily view all connected applications and devices, so they can spot and fix issues before they can escalate. IT must also be able to inventory all connected devices in real time, to ensure all connected devices are authorized.
  • Optimized system performance, with an application-aware network that enables systems to run at their best, enhance security, and deliver an improved user experience. An application-aware network should also enable IT to tailor performance based on different types of connected devices and applications.
  • Detailed analytics and AI to help organizations understand and benchmark normal, day-to-day operations. It should also help healthcare providers gain real-time business intelligence and customer insights to improve performance, security, and user satisfaction.

The solution should also provide plenty of bandwidth for availability, innovation, and growth, supporting bandwidth-intensive applications like video and collaboration. At the same time, it should offer the efficiency needed to deliver a strong ROI.

Delivering these capabilities requires a high level of intelligence at the network edge. VMware SD-WAN™, together with VMware Edge Network Intelligence™, delivers a powerful combination of performance and insight required to meet today’s healthcare challenges. A cloud-based AIOps platform, VMware Edge Network Intelligence takes advantage of all the data generated by the SD-WAN network and beyond. It provides a simple way to securely view, manage, and troubleshoot highly distributed networks.

Discover the Latest Healthcare Directions at Our Webinar

If you’d like to learn more about how healthcare organizations are increasingly embracing digital transformation to deliver an enhanced experience, sign up for “Healthcare’s New Normal: A Highly Connected and Optimized Network Environment.” Join Bob Laliberte, Senior Analyst at ESG, and VMware thought leaders as we explore how healthcare organizations are accelerating their digital transformation efforts to accommodate on-premises needs and enable a surge in remote workers.

We’ll discuss how SD-WAN and edge network intelligence are helping healthcare organizations gain network security, network visibility, and the flexibility needed to keep up with evolving changes.

Register for our live online event, October 22 at 10:00 am Pacific time, or view it on demand.

 

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