Healthcare is no longer confined to hospitals and medical office complexes. Mobile technologies and increasingly faster wireless networks mean efficient patient care is potentially delivered anywhere. Consequently, this expanded ability to deliver medical services requires new network architectures capable of guaranteeing the security and privacy standards required by government privacy regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
The emerging Network as a Service (NaaS) architecture for connectivity is well suited to support healthcare delivery models that utilize mobile devices, temporary locations, and the early adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) devices for monitoring patients and collecting data. NaaS provides the flexibility and security required for the fluctuating network traffic and branch-location management that are common in modern medical scenarios.
NaaS Is Flexible
NaaS shifts network management responsibilities to a third party, reflecting the reality that deploying a network in a hospital of any size adds complexity to healthcare IT, both for installation and ongoing management. The NaaS paradigm supports temporary locations for delivering medical services, such as clinics and research labs within larger facilities. It also aligns well with health cloud computing strategies for easily deploying applications and sharing information.
NaaS provides scalability and flexibility in highly budget-conscious healthcare environments. A hospital, for example, can transfer network deployment and manage
ment responsibilities to the service provider. This frees dedicated hospital IT staff to focus on strategic projects and improve the delivery of medical services while still supporting fluctuating numbers of users — whether healthcare workers or patients — and mobile devices and endpoints.
NaaS Maintains Control
Although NaaS involves shifting responsibilities to a service provider, that doesn't mean healthcare organizations must forego the control they require over their networking infrastructures. This is critical, given the sensitivity of patient information. Rather, NaaS provides extensive visibility and central control over an environment that's becoming increasingly fragmented due to mobile technologies and remote locations, such as temporary clinics and satellite facilities, that use telemedicine to treat patients.
NaaS provides healthcare organizations with a "single pane of glass" that supports visibility across networks and locations. This dashboard enables IT staff to make better informed decisions about allocating network resources and bandwidth at multiple locations. They spend less time managing networks and can focus on IT initiatives that support patient care, research efforts, and delivery of services.
NaaS Is Cost Effective
From a budget perspective, NaaS provides healthcare organizations with a more predictable cost structure. They can migrate from an expensive MPLS network to embrace software-defined technologies and faster, more robust wireless capabilities without the upfront capital costs that come with deploying new network gear. This is also accomplished without compromising security and privacy. Technologies such as Cisco's Meraki Auto VPN technology and its auto-provisioning site-to-site virtual private network capabilities mean distributed healthcare facilities can easily, quickly, and securely connect without tedious manual configurations.
NaaS prepares healthcare organizations for futuristic care models that leverage IoT devices and Big Data generation to improve patient outcomes, providing a high-performance network without hefty price tags or management burdens. Shift network responsibilities to CBB to enjoy flexible, on-demand connectivity that adapts to changing requirements and improves patient care.