Connected Healthcare part 5:
Network as a Service technologies are Innovation Networks

For this fifth article in the Journey to Connected Healthcare series, we will consider some of the Network as a Service (NaaS) technologies a healthcare organization can adopt to move from an enhanced to an innovative network, which is the final progression in our digital transformation journey framework. Also, we will delve into an advanced use case: fall monitoring and detection.

Our last article discussed what we might find in an enhanced healthcare network. So, what are some of the solutions a care organization could use to build an Innovative network?


  • 5G on-site private network


  • Complete network management delivered by a partner in as-a-service model 


  • Zero Trust network architecture


  • End-user experience monitoring


  • Full integration with network management partner


Let’s explore each of these: 

5G On-Site Private Network

This is a private and secure on-premises cellular wireless network on which to run critical business applications and operations. It is completely separate from public cellular networks, like those on which our personal cell phones operate. It can supplement or replace Wi-Fi deployments, using fewer access points to cover broader areas and provide greater capacity and throughput with lower latency, and it can be implemented and expanded rapidly. 

A healthcare organization could use this for…

  • Video analytics
  • Virtual Reality (VR) for training medical professionals and rehabilitating patients
  • Connected medical devices
  • Patient monitoring
  • High-accuracy indoor positioning (for example, for asset tracking)
  • Clinical communications
  • Secure transport of patient data for centralized or edge analytics

Complete Network Management as-a-service 

This includes a partner providing a comprehensive package of managed connectivity, including all hardware, software, configuration, control, and orchestration for:

  • Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SDWAN)
  • Limited Area Network (LAN)
  • Software-Defined Wireless Limited Area Network (SDWLAN) (or next-generation Wi-Fi)
  • 5G on-site private network

The package should include a Service Level Agreement (SLA) committing to the availability of connectivity to each of a healthcare organization’s sites, and it should provide flexibility to deploy new and decommission old technology and sites. Finally, the package should provide options for co- or full management, allowing a healthcare organization to choose between maintaining some responsibility for day-to-day management of the network or placing all responsibility on its partner.

With this, a healthcare organization can help free itself from the most significant challenges of managing a high-quality network, namely:

  • Maintaining detailed knowledge of network technology advances
  • Replacing network technology on a regular cycle
  • Obtaining, training, managing staff with specialized network and security expertise/skills   

Zero Trust Network Architecture 

This is an approach to designing a network that assumes neither trust for assets or user accounts based on their apparent ownership, nor physical or network location. It requires that users, systems, and devices should all be authenticated and authorized for each use, or session of an enterprise IT resource. Several prominent organizations have offered incredible details on how this approach might be implemented, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology link. Ultimately, the approach will likely require several of the tools we have discussed in previous articles. For example, these could include, secure cloud solutions, Managed Detection and Response, Endpoint Detection and Response, Security Information and Event Management) configured for a comprehensive approach to enterprise cybersecurity. 

A healthcare organization should view this approach as the gold standard to help meet cybersecurity and compliance requirements and should look to its trusted partner to understand its specific organizational context and help implement the zero-trust network architecture through a professional services engagement. 

End-User Experience Monitoring 

This service uses an intuitive management portal to provide insight on how users in multiple locations experience applications and services through a network, using tools to monitor, test, and measure each of these components continually throughout the entire digital delivery chain. The service can help pinpoint the true causes of availability, performance, reachability, and reliability challenges, tracing from users back through a network to the application or service itself.

With this level of monitoring, a care organization can continually monitor and identify key challenges impacting the experience of users in multiple locations, and target resources on those challenges to overcome them. For example, the organization might learn that its outpatient Pain Clinic users are experiencing a challenge reaching the state-controlled substances web service because of a capacity challenge with a specific router, suggesting the router should be reconfigured or upgraded. Alternatively, the monitoring may provide evidence of a challenge with the state web service itself, which might prompt a call to its administrator. 

Full Integration with a Partner 

In a previous article, we discussed how Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) can allow a healthcare organization to integrate its network or IT Service Management system with that of a partner to enhance communication on incidents, provisioning, policy updates, etc., as well as take advantage of the partner’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) for these things. With full integration, this goes a step further to complete integration between the network management systems of the organization and partner, sharing a common data model. This would include operations planning and design, project management, engineering, service catalog, service delivery, service assurance, service management, change management, configuration management database, etc. All information exchange would take place over secure connections, on a private network if desired. Essentially, the organization would be able to share information with its partner as though it were another organizational division, allowing for seamless collaboration. 

NaaS: An Integrated Solution

NaaS solutions such as these should be provided as an integrated service to the healthcare organization, not as a number of disparate solutions the organization must struggle to piece together. We have emphasized this in our previous articles, and we must do so again. Your NaaS partner should provide a reliable, fully integrated, end-to-end solution that will help your healthcare organization meet your specific Connected Healthcare goals. Anything less, and you should question the viability of the solution.

Advanced NaaS Use Case: Fall Monitoring and Detection

Utilizing a 5G On-site Private Network, a care organization can implement a fall monitoring and detection solution to assist in the Patient Care Delivery portion of our Healthcare Reference Architecture.

  • Healthcare Reference Architecture -  fall monitoring and detection solution

    Healthcare Reference Architecture - fall monitoring and detection solution

  • Patient falls are a significant challenge for healthcare systems: According to the most recent data provided by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), of Americans aged 65 and above, more than one-fourth fall each year, and falls are the leading cause of injuries among older adults. The CDC’s most recent estimate for the annual cost of treatment for these fall injuries is more than$50 billion. And most alarming, as many as 10 percent of these injuries occur in a healthcare center. In fact, the most recent data on sentinel events from leading health system accreditation agency, The Joint Commission, shows falls as the most commonly reported, five times more common than the next closest, delay in treatment. 

    However, technology may be able to help. With a 5G on-site private network and intelligent video, a care organization could use camera vision and AI to monitor patients at risk of falling in hospital rooms and alert nursing staff about situations in which patient movement is likely to result in a fall (or has resulted in a fall). This could serve as a vital aid to nurses, who are typically charged with the care of multiple patients in multiple rooms; nurses simply are not able to continuously monitor all patients at risk of falling–fall monitoring and detection could extend their field of awareness.

    As we discussed in our last article, to attract and retain nursing staff, healthcare organizations must provide them with the tools they need to provide quality, unencumbered patient care. We are in the midst of a nursing crisis, and this is projected to worsen in the years ahead. We need innovative solutions to help relieve the strain this causes healthcare systems and this Connected Healthcare solutions are a way to extend the reach of nurses to enhance patient safety.

    In our next article, we will review more healthcare use cases on our journey to truly Connected Healthcare and efficient 4P medicine: predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory.

    The author, Brett Barganz, is a Solutions Executive, for Connected Healthcare, at Verizon. Brett has expertise in leading public service organizations through their visions of change, especially technology transformation for Network as a Service and Connected Healthcare. 

    • Like what you're reading?

      If you’d like to receive new articles, solutions briefs, whitepapers and more—just let us know.

      Sign up

    Related articles

    Connected Healthcare part 1:

    An introduction to Network as a Service

    Connected Healthcare part 2:

    Moving from a Basic Network to an Innovative Network

    Connected Healthcare part 3:

    Shifting to an Efficient Network with Network as a Service

    Connected Healthcare part 4:

    Enhancing Healthcare Networks

    Connected Healthcare part 5:

    Network as a Service technologies are Innovation Networks

    Connected Healthcare part 6:

    Going beyond your Innovative Networks with Network as a Service

    Let's get started.