The Healthcare IoT Problem Nobody Talks About

HIPAA-compliance and cyber security are top-of-mind these days in healthcare IT circles. But another pressing issue looms which has a tremendous effect on both: are hospitals reaching “peak gadget”?

New iPhone sales may be sluggish but elsewhere, the gadget market is doing just fine. In fact, ‘explosive’ might be a better way to describe the growth of mobile devices that collect and transfer data.

Nowhere is this more evident right now than in healthcare. The global market for wireless devices in healthcare is expected to reach more than $110 billion (USD) by 2020. That’s just a hair shy of Ukraine’s entire GDP for 2017!

From patient engagement gadgets to digital tools for monitoring patient health, gadget growth is radically transforming the healthcare ecosystem. And whenever an industry experiences transformation, there is inevitably a host of potential problems.

Security and privacy are well-known issues that already receive plenty of attention from healthcare IT professionals. But there’s another issue dogging the modernization efforts of hospitals: How’s it possible to manage so many devices and can there be a point where there are just too many of them?

Gadget Growth in Healthcare IT: Just One Big Chaotic Mess?

Everybody loves hearing about what the Internet of Things (IoT) can do for healthcare. Connecting the physical world with the digital promises more insights which ultimately result in better patient care. It’s already happening as IoT devices provide enhanced patient-doctor communications through multi-channel connectivity. And ER solutions like the RFID technology at Mayo Clinic’s Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, MN are already helping to save lives.  

But behind the scenes, these rosy visions of the hyper-connected hospital are instilling a chilling fear in those responsible for managing mobile devices. For them, the new era of digital healthcare is causing disruption on a scale not seen in decades (since providers first started maintaining EHRs).

Call it ‘device overload’ or ‘gadget weariness’ but either way, the result has some CIO’s wondering: ‘has my hospital reached peak gadget?’

The Problem With Too Many Devices

Mobile devices in a hospital environment need lots of attention. That’s true whether they’re BYOD or hospital-owned. The predictive maintenance alone is enough to employ several full-time employees at most institutions. Then there’s the messiness of repairs. And that’s just for mobile devices, not counting all the PC’s, printers, and infrastructure that are also placed within their domain.

Then there’s all that data.

Healthcare data exists on the far end of the complexity spectrum. Even professional data managers find healthcare data to be on a level all its own in complexity. It’s non-linear because there are multiple stakeholders: patients, providers, and payers at the very least — that’s not even counting secondary stakeholders like researchers or caregivers, who might also seek access to health data.

It’s also non-linear in a completely different way because of what we’ve been talking about here: the incredibly fast-growing number of connected devices entering the healthcare ecosystem. More devices mean more operating systems, more training, more security patches, more service calls, more third-party vendors to deal with, and more service providers in the mix for repairs… it can feel like an algal-like bloom of mounting chaos.

Managing the Chaos

That’s why more hospital IT professionals are looking at Converged Mobility (#ConvergedMobility). Want to learn more? Denali defines mobility as any device used to access resources over any network with security and controls based on user, roles and business function. The emergence of mobility and the impact on enterprise networks led Denali to create a Converged Mobility practice that provides strategic solutions on any endpoint over any network to any resource.

Our goal is to provide a proactive and predictive solution leveraging a strategic alignment of device use cases, device consolidation, connectivity, management, deployment, support, and access to the right resources, at the right place, for the right person or role. Contact us today to find out how we can partner together and gain insights into productivity and ROI.

e-Book: The road to better healthcare mobility

Read more about converged mobility and Denali's managed services by downloading our free Road to Better Healthcare Mobility E-Book. We’ll make sure your healthcare organization never reaches ‘peak gadget’. 

Tony Lucas

Tony Lucas is a mobility solutions architect working closely with Denali systems engineering and sales organizations on pre and post sales system architecture and implementation strategy and success. Tony supports the mobility needs for large enterprise organizations by providing technical expertise and leadership which translates technical requirements into business results and solutions.

Tony has more than 15 years of IT experience in the client and systems integration industry. This includes more than 12 years as a Citrix consultant, Area Services Director, and Virtualization Architect that also led the Analysis Team. Member of Citrix’s Partner Technical Expert Council (PTEC).

Tony is a driving force behind Denali's Managed Mobility Services where he helps organizations design, implement and manage end-to-end mobility initiatives.

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