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Jun 25 2019

Private LTE for your wireless healthcare IoT? It’s the smart route forward.

Digital transformation is starting to sweep through healthcare organizations, as digital technology shifts from being a driver of marginal efficiency to a real enabler of innovation and a creator of new value-added services. The requirement for video, automation, advanced asset management, surveillance, monitoring on demand, and new bedside services is being driven from the ground up by clinicians, security and operational teams and the patients themselves.

It all brings with it a significant increase in IoT connected devices and digital processes, putting tremendous pressure on the underlying IT network and the infrastructure teams tasked with supporting and reliably delivering this new digital normal. Many of these new services demand wireless connectivity, stretching existing Wi-Fi networks to the limit, and making increasing wireless networking capacity another burning IT priority.

The good news is that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the USA is opening up wireless broadband use for enterprises such as healthcare. This broadband availability for enterprises means that healthcare systems can now set up and run their in-building wireless networks using spectrum and standard 4G LTE cellular technology.

What’s exciting about that? Everything.  

By deploying their own high-capacity, high-speed 4G mobile communications capability in the shape of a Private Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network, professional organizations can innovate more quickly, better serve patients, and enhance their operational efficiency while reducing their energy footprint. Private LTE networks will free IT teams from the restrictions of conventional connectivity technologies such as Ethernet, which is secure and reliable but high cost and inflexible, and Wi-Fi, which offers low cost but also lower reliability.

A private LTE network is a local network that is utilizing dedicated radio equipment to service facilities in the healthcare system with specific IoT applications and services. The use of dedicated equipment allows it to be independent of traffic fluctuation in the wide-area macro network. By focusing on specific applications and services, the private LTE network can be tailored for more optimized performance such as low latency. The private LTE network will operate alongside of existing Wi-Fi networks in healthcare facilities.

Because the need for mobile coverage in large building and campus environments is pushing the service limits of traditional WiFi, WiMax, cellular signal boosters, and femtocell solutions – private LTE is crucial. Healthcare systems can look to private LTE to address a variety of challenges and replace higher priced solutions, such as distributed antenna systems (DAS). Healthcare systems with campus geographies and challenging construction materials (low-e) and layouts (storm rated buildings) struggle with existing WiFi networks. In-building radio frequency (RF) environments are complex. Hospitals, in particular, are challenged with sensors in rooms and a growing amount of connected medical devices creating congestion. With stable and reliable private LTE in place, different channels can be established for different processes and priorities.  Using private LTE, medical professionals will be able to receive an up-to-date, real-time analysis of their patient’s wellbeing without delay from anywhere within a facility. From digital thermometers to connected hygiene systems to ingestible pills for diagnostic imaging, medical devices can be networked to provide aggregate data, to improve diagnosis, treatments, and patient care. The private LTE network will serve many purposes including, data exchange and voice communication among healthcare professionals, patient location services, supply logistics, and more.

Network readiness is the secret to success.  In the future, 4G and 5G LTE will play an integral role in expanding the capabilities of Internet-ready devices, which means that healthcare providers need to learn how to create, implement, and manage their own high-speed networks. With automation and the Internet of Things well on their way, the opportunity to build a private cellular network is something that cannot be overlooked.

The healthcare experts at Nokia can help you create, implement, and manage your own high-speed networks, incorporating private LTE innovation. The future will be here sooner than you think, so why not take this opportunity to start researching and building your network plans?

Learn more about the Private LTE solutions by reading Gartner’s research report, “Industry Focus Can Expand Private LTE Footprint”?

Get the report now.

Gartner

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks or @nokia using #healthcare, #digitalhealth, #realtimehealth, #RTHS, #healthcarenetworks, #IoT, #IoMT, #HIT

About Cindy Bergevin

Cindy leads enterprise healthcare marketing at Nokia where she reaches out to healthcare systems around the world to help them with their digital transformations in order to become real-time healthcare systems. Tweet @CindyBergevin