Mark Appleby, Business Development Manager at Wireless Logic
eHealth, smart healthcare and telemedicine are rapidly growing fields that combine medicine and health services with technology and connectivity, using technology to support health workers, patients and organisations. These sectors have existed for many years, but as eHealth solutions have become more prevalent, along with the increasing strain on our healthcare workers and systems as a result of COVID-19, the industry is turning to cellular connectivity due to the increased reliability, flexibility, commercial viability and security that it provides.
The fields of eHealth and smart healthcare cover a wide range of services, including telehealth, remote patient monitoring and assisted living. The term eHealth can also apply to an evolving approach towards healthcare in the digital age, which can appear as virtual healthcare, prescriptions and diagnosis, electronic health records and telesurgery. Cellular connectivity is a key enabler of eHealth and related technologies, by providing a controlled and secure method of communication that can work from any location. In comparison to the traditionally used WiFi, cellular offers significantly more security when transferring data, connectivity for a larger number of devices simultaneously, as well as the opportunity to create a network of IoT connected medical devices.
It is clear that the healthcare industry needs to adapt, in order to sufficiently meet patient needs, keep care workers safe and help our healthcare systems work more efficiently. This can be done by using technology to support remote patient monitoring and telehealth, both of which are higher bandwidth applications requiring fast, secure and reliable cellular connectivity. Cellular technology has already been transformative for the industry, in areas such as remote medical appointments during COVID-19, or by allowing the emergency services to record patient data in the field. With the ongoing development of 5G technologies, this will drive innovation and allow healthcare organisations to open up new and more effective ways of working.
With the rise of these technologies, the topic of security has become increasingly prevalent; not just in terms of private health data but also hardware security. Expensive devices are being shared with the patients, often taken off-premises and used for long periods of time. Medical organisations must be able to track and monitor these devices, as well as making sure they are being used for the right purpose. For example, IMEI locking can help to minimise financial loss by ensuring the SIM is locked to one particular device.
Data security is another ever-increasing area of concern. With private health data being transferred between people, locations and devices, the consequences of a data breach would be severe; whether it’s personal health data, the results of a medical study or pharmacy records, medical institutions need to be sure that the data can be shared in a trusted and secure way. Through the use of VPNs or direct interconnects, organisations are able to protect data whilst still communicating effectively with relevant parties.
In this article Mark Appleby, Business Development Manager at Wireless Logic, will discuss how cellular connectivity is helping to minimise the strain on the healthcare system, with a particular focus on how organisations can ensure that health data is protected and shared in a secure way and minimise financial loss of devices. Mark will also outline the considerations that businesses in the medical industry need to take when selecting a connectivity partner.