SD-WAN – the right choice for healthcare

August 13, 2020

SD-WAN has been one of the most rapidly adopted technologies of the past decade. SD-WAN solves several challenges at the same time, including rapid deployment, fast connectivity to cloud applications and resources, and unified management to reduce IT overhead. It also enables organisations to add more bandwidth inexpensively, while providing users with direct and high-quality access to internet-based resources.

The delivery of healthcare is changing rapidly around the world through the adoption of new services such as telemedicine. Between now and 2025, there’s a predicted five-year compound annual growth rate of nearly 40%.

So how can medicine and healthcare take advantage of SD-WAN?

Electronic records

Patients expect secure access to medical records. This is necessary for personal record keeping, dealing with insurance companies, and when consulting with third party specialists. When patients can’t access electronic records, they’re liable to call and voice their frustration—clogging up the phone lines and resulting in further frustration when agents on the other end can’t access the data, either.

In addition to preventing network accessibility issues, SD-WAN also enables superior VoIP quality. When customers have to call in and speak with representatives regarding their electronic records, they will experience clear conversations without any dropouts or jitter.

Staff communication

Downtime and network issues can lead to back-end confusion, when staff members can’t access client notes, schedules, messaging portals, and other critical systems. More and more healthcare applications are coming to market, further enhancing the need for robust connectivity.

SD-WAN will let a network scale bandwidth with ease, meaning a facility won’t suffer from bandwidth issues during peak traffic times when many people are using the network.

Medical procedures

The days of performing manual medical procedures are long gone. Now, doctors, nurses, and surgeons are increasingly using connected devices and robotics to perform surgeries and body scans. Soon, too, artificial intelligence will play a larger role in medical procedures. For this reason, connectivity in a doctor’s room or surgery is considered mission critical. Downtime could lead to serious patient harm, or even loss of life.

With SD-WAN, a healthcare provider can take two or more internet circuits and create a single data path, for stacked bandwidth and combined availability. This can enable failover, for guaranteed connectivity during a medical procedure.

Virtual e-visits

Patients have busy schedules and expect to be seen at the time of their appointment. This also holds true for virtual e-visits, where a patient may log in over the internet for a medical consultation with a doctor. While e-visits have obvious benefit in rural and remote communities where getting to a doctor or specialist may not be possible, e-visits also benefit seniors, parents with young children at home and people with disabilities who have difficulty in getting to a doctor.

Why connectivity is the most important factor

In all these use-cases, connectivity is critical – the quality of the consultation is dictated by the voice and video quality that is possible. A lapse in connectivity or poor connection on the provider’s part can negatively impact the patient experience, access to records or even the cancellation of procedures, potentially leading to the patient seeking care from alternative provider who can accommodate them.

SD-WAN makes it possible to aggregate multiple connections from multiple providers, including wireless and LTE, enabling a robust and secure environment.

Final thoughts

Secure SD-WAN stands to play a critical role in this industry. The efficiencies provided by SD-WAN also help ensure that these new services can be provided without the usual skyrocketing costs associated with healthcare services.

SD-WAN health care