Will technology alter the patient experience in 2018?

By: Nancy Green

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The growing adoption of cloud solutions and digital services offers healthcare organizations the tools they need to drive greater access to healthcare at more affordable prices. At the same time, IT decision-makers are still looking for new ways to use and share data to improve the patient experience, while also protecting it against the high-profile hacks that have impacted the industry. Verizon Enterprise Solutions expects 2018 to be the year of IT transformation across all business sectors. In healthcare, this transformation will converge around strategies and solutions that help improve patient care, from using virtualized networks to improve information sharing and embedding security into existing and new platforms to protect that information while at rest and in transit.

Making predictions for the year ahead is always a challenge because the world of enterprise technology continues to change at a rapid pace. However, despite the fluid nature of the industry, we can confidently project three broad IT trends within the healthcare sector that will move the industry forward in 2018:  

Security will go underground.

Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) reported that of the breaches examined, 15 percent were in the healthcare sector, making it one of the three industries that experienced the most data breaches. It’s a serious issue within the sector, and we don’t expect it to decline in 2018. Not only do breaches compromise patient information, they can damage a company’s reputation and require significant costs to mitigate. All of this means that the way we think about security in healthcare must continue to evolve as the threats change and the technologies advance. In 2018, we expect security to go “underground”— i.e., to become embedded at the network level and across platforms to create an end-to-end managed security infrastructure for the network that’s measurable. Gartner’s 2018 cybersecurity trends align with this perspective, noting that the focus will shift from protection to prevention.

Application-aware networking will be the next big thing.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the implementation and exploration of software-defined networking (SDN) across enterprise. As we watch the evolving joint ventures and consolidation activities within the healthcare sector, organizations will need these virtualized networks for transitional and sustained security, agility, and flexibility. In 2018, we expect to see application-aware networking step into the spotlight. It offers the ability to manage the performance, capabilities and security of applications to better utilize bandwidth, ever more critical in an increasingly complex world.

Advancements will be made in digital collaboration.

Digital healthcare and telehealth offerings have become a common experience for patients over the years. In 2018, we expect to see digital technologies transform not just the patient experience but all workplace collaboration. In its Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018, Gartner describes it as the “intelligent digital mesh” where people, devices, content, and services combine to support business. Digital collaboration will take on a new form this year, helping improve workplace satisfaction and the patient experience.

Transformation is a journey, so it’s important to remember that there are obstacles that this industry, and all enterprise, will experience along the way. These trends reflect the cautious advancement that we see. They are not trends that will revolutionize the industry, but they show that the technologies, and the way industries view and implement them, are maturing.

Going to HIMSS 2018 in Las Vegas this year? Come see us at the Verizon booth (#3243).  

Learn more about the intelligent solutions transforming the healthcare industry 

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About the author:

Nancy is Global Practice Lead – Healthcare & Life Sciences for Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

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