Why Private LTE Networking is the Smart Choice for Digital Health
The global COVID-19 pandemic, an ever-growing, ever-aging population, a predicted shortage of physicians in years to come. The strain on our already over-stretched healthcare systems is growing. What measures could be introduced, then, to alleviate the pressure on providers? Could digital technology play an even more prominent role in the healthcare industry than it does today? And what connectivity solution could better support existing IoT technology in healthcare and make new digital initiatives reality?
From inpatient monitoring and connected drug delivery systems to point-of-care testing, remote appointments, and at-home care for high-risk patients, the IoT use cases in healthcare are many and the pandemic has only accentuated our desire for further digital transformation within the sector. Telehealth is on the rise, however, that’s not all: we’re also witnessing a shift away from reactive care in favor of preventive medicine. In the age of the customer, or rather, the patient, digital technology is empowering us to become more involved in our own healthcare. The ability to monitor patients outside of medical facilities using IoT healthcare devices is also giving practitioners a more complete picture of our well-being, permitting medical problems or diseases to be detected before the symptoms manifest themselves.
Connected devices, however, are only as strong as their weakest connection and achieving reliable, secure coverage which caters to both wired and wireless IoT applications in healthcare is not without its challenges.
Private Wireless Networking Solutions: The “Why” for IoT-Driven Healthcare
Innovation in private cellular networks means healthcare organizations can already benefit from many of the advantages that 5G is set to offer in the future, including:
- Five nines uptime for reliable connectivity, which is key for mission-critical IoT applications in healthcare
- High resilience and low latency offering predictable coverage in complex healthcare settings
- Strong encryption, IPSec and network slicing for maximum security, helping healthcare providers safeguard sensitive patient data
- A centralized management platform enabling application scalability with seamless interoperability between public and private networks
Private LTE and IoT Healthcare Devices: A Use Case
Point-of-care testing (POCT) is an important diagnostic tool in healthcare. When implemented correctly, it can increase the quality and efficiency of clinical decision-making regarding diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and prognosis, thus impacting positively on patient care.
Overcrowding in emergency departments, for example, is common, and increasing waiting times have been linked to increasing patient mortality. The speed at which POC testing solutions provide results could help address the pressures on physicians in the ED: wait times and unnecessary hospital admission decrease, serving to reduce the time to treatment and improve the efficiency of patient flow.
POCT is not just limited to hospitals, however. The ability to connect remote point-of-care testing devices to a healthcare organization’s network means that these diagnostic tools can also be utilized in patients’ homes, dialysis centers, nursing homes, and disaster and emergency response situations, for example.
Private LTE offers healthcare providers a secure private cellular network to connect point-of-care testing software and devices. Multiple individual access points and seamless roaming between public and private networks ensure a reliable connection regardless of whether the device is used on-site, in healthcare facilities, or remotely. Centralized connectivity for POCT gives laboratories an oversight of quality control (QC) and the means to manage devices and the user database over one platform, while also enabling IoT e-health systems to scale testing solutions from a central location.
Setting Up a Private LTE Network: Where to Begin
Private wireless networks offer healthcare organizations a centrally managed connectivity solution that is intrinsically secure, predictable, and scalable. As the calls for digital health grow louder, so too does the call for high-performance enterprise networks that can cater to challenging environments and a high volume of IoT connected healthcare applications.
Pod Group offers a range of Private LTE networking solutions, including “private mobile networking” through Pod PLTE Interconnect. Complete control over a Private LTE core enables healthcare providers to manage data as it flows across public and private networks, while all aspects of IoT connectivity can be overseen from a centralized, modular platform, Pod IoT Suite. And, with the importance of data security in healthcare on everyone’s mind, Pod Protect provides a multi-tier detection strategy to identify and flag threats, ensuring that the patient data transmitted by IoT devices is safeguarded against cyber attacks at all times.