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The 3 Big Imperatives Driving Healthcare Technology Forward

Matt Odell
To improve staff satisfaction, patient experiences and facility efficiency, hospitals have no choice but to turn toward healthcare technology. Read about healthcare’s shift toward digital transformation in our blog. 


Healthcare has changed dramatically in the last decade, shaking up the status quo.


To keep up with these changes, digital transformation—or the positive impact of healthcare technology—is becoming less of a buzzword and more of a necessity, especially when it comes to supporting and empowering staff, patients and facilities.


Let’s take a close look at the three imperatives driving digital transformation in healthcare right now.


1. Staff Need Support and Better Work Environments

On average, patients wait nearly three hours before seeing an emergency room doctor—and that number is increasing, not decreasing, after the pandemic. Nearly 40% of patients are frustrated with their doctors due to the amount of time they wait once they arrive for their appointments.


What’s causing these long waits? The biggest culprit: staff shortages.


While the United States expects to see 193,100 job openings for registered nurses every year through 2032, only 177,400 nurses will enter the workforce during that time. For physicians, the American Association of Medical Colleges projects a national shortfall of between 37,000 and 100,000+ over the next decade.


This clinician shortage impacts not only patients but also workers in the field. Last year, healthcare ranked last for employee satisfaction among 28 industries due in part to things like burnout and inefficient work processes.


To address shortages and alleviate burden on overworked employees, hospital administrators have no choice but to look toward healthcare technology to reduce workload and streamline processes wherever and whenever possible. Healthcare technology can help:

  • Automate tasks and workflows
  • Support remote patient monitoring
  • Free clinicians from repetitive tasks
  • Connect workers to vital information faster
  • Generate data-driven insights for faster, more informed decision-making

The more a healthcare organization can simplify and streamline the work of their doctors and nurses, the higher their employee satisfaction levels will be.


2. Patients Demand Better Experiences and Care

Even though clinicians are feeling the squeeze, consumers aren’t relenting when it comes to their expectations. Comfortable, hotel-like environments that offer a variety of food choices and delivery services are replacing cold, sterile medical buildings.


Patients and their families want fast, reliable Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity no matter where they are: in their rooms, the lobby, the cafeteria, the parking garage or the stairway.


Depending on the tests, waiting days for results is no longer acceptable. Patients expect findings that same day—sometimes even before they leave the facility. For example, in a survey of 8,000 patients, 96% said they prefer to receive immediately released test results online instead of waiting to be contacted by their healthcare provider with results.


But, as patients seek out better experiences, hospitals are getting worse at meeting their needs. In fact, every U.S. state is now providing significantly worse healthcare experiences than they were two years ago, according to the latest Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. This score is evaluated based on five consumer-reported metrics:

  • Nurse communication
  • Doctor communication
  • Staff responsiveness
  • Communication about medicine
  • Discharge information

In many cases, improvement in these areas requires healthcare technology—from tools that facilitate patient-clinician communication to tech-enabled spaces that allow patients to have greater control over their stay.


3. Healthcare Facilities Must Be Optimized for Efficiency

People’s lives depend on the successful operation of healthcare systems and facilities. Optimizing the efficiency of a hospital facility is fundamental to safety, patient care and staff productivity.


Consider inventory as an example. Poor inventory control negatively impacts patient safety and care outcomes while increasing costs. Mismanagement also leads to errors, missing supplies and overspending. Reining in inventory issues saves staff members valuable time so they can focus on patients.


Missing equipment is another potential productivity sink. It’s estimated that between 10% and 20% of a hospital’s mobile assets are lost or stolen during their useful life, leaving staff to waste time looking for the equipment they need to do their jobs. Hospitals lose millions of dollars each year when equipment disappears. This not only has direct financial implications, but also slows down response times, delays procedures and compromises data.


Facilities that use healthcare technology to optimize facility and workflow efficiency can:

  • Enhance resource utilization
  • Improve safety and security
  • Ensure compliance with regulations
  • Reduce energy use
  • Enable preventive and predictive maintenance


The Rise of Cybersecurity: Network Segmentation and Threat Isolation

As technology becomes more integrated into every aspect of healthcare, bad actors will search for ways to attack healthcare networks in order to steal patient data and bring mission-critical systems down.


To protect against these disruptive and dangerous events, healthcare IT and operations teams need to find ways to proactively monitor and prevent problems through tactics like network access control (NAC).


To protect the network from unauthorized users, solutions like Network Access Control software from macmon, a Belden brand, can uniquely identify and sort mission-critical devices, such as MRI and X-ray machines, surveillance cameras and employee workstations, into corresponding groups and VLANs based on predefined rules. This ensures that clinical staff always have access to the devices and data they need. At the same time, NAC detects and isolates external devices so they can’t access the network.


With a network access control solution in place, the IT team knows exactly which devices are on the network, and access is automatically granted or denied to reduce security vulnerability.


We Can Help You Deliver on Objectives

Belden’s Customer Innovation Centers (CICs) are here to help you understand how to deploy high-quality data acquisition, transmission, orchestration and management solutions that enable efficient and effective care, optimize lean staff resources and create safe and productive environments.


The team of healthcare technology experts at our Enhanced Patient Experience Showcase is ready to show you how the hospital of the future will function and offer up new ideas to help you enhance patient experiences, boost staff satisfaction and optimize facility efficiency.



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