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Three Healthcare Networking Use Cases VARs Must Master

February 11, 2017

Three Healthcare Networking Use Cases VARs Must Master

The market for healthcare IT solutions is growing. Late last year, Research and Markets forecast that the North American healthcare IT market will grow at a CAGR of 7.4 percent to reach $31.3 billion by 2017. And healthcare networking will play a healthy role in that growth as the increasing demand for connectivity, both at the user and the institutional level, drives organizations to reconsider their LAN, WAN, and data center infrastructures. Here are three healthcare networking use cases to explore as you make your plans to capitalize on the growth in healthcare IT.

1. Telemedicine

Providing healthcare to as many patients as possible has always proven challenging. Patients may not have the time to come in when their providers have appointments available, and patients in more rural or underserved areas may find the distance to their provider's office too far to travel for nonemergency issues. Telemedicine, or telehealth, uses technology to remotely connect patients to providers (or providers to providers), typically via voice and video teleconferencing. Among its benefits, it can "expand access and reduce costs of healthcare," according to the Healthcare IT Index.

How VARs can benefit:

Telemedicine touches several different areas of the data center. Organizations must implement secure, reliable teleconferencing solutions, often involving the integration of additional hardware into the networking stack. Effective bandwidth allocation is a must for dependable teleconferencing performance, as is a storage infrastructure capable of storing and securing call and conference recordings. At each step of the process, the special needs of healthcare networking provide opportunities for savvy VARs to customize the solutions they offer.

2. Health Information Exchanges

Health information exchanges (HIEs) enable participating entities like hospitals, clinics, doctors' offices, and pharmacies to share patient and healthcare data. HIEs are becoming increasingly popular and often boast hundreds or thousands of diverse and disparate member organizations. As with telemedicine, HIEs can streamline the healthcare delivery process and significantly improve healthcare access and quality.

How VARs can benefit:

Like telemedicine, HIEs touch several areas of the data center. The increased flow of north-south traffic may demand more or better healthcare networking infrastructure than what an organization currently uses, as well as more intelligence in network switching and routing. The increase in the transmission of sensitive patient data also demands strong security infrastructure. Finally, more or better storage may be necessary.

3. Security of ePHI

Underlying nearly every healthcare networking concern is the need to maximize data security in accordance with the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which mandates specific protections and requirements for the safeguarding of sensitive, confidential patient health and insurance information. Failure to comply with HIPAA regulations can result in heavy fines and damage to organizations' reputations.

How VARs can benefit:

Security solutions and appliances, coupled with the expertise and support of a VAR familiar both with the technology and with the specific needs of healthcare networking, represent strong continuing opportunities for VARs. The solutions on tap can range from firewall appliances to network and data traffic visibility and monitoring solutions, from network access control (NAC) and mobile device management (MDM) devices to traffic encryption and data loss prevention (DLP) solutions.

These are but three of many healthcare networking use cases on which VARs can capitalize. Are you ready to take your networking and data center expertise into the healthcare industry? Ingram Micro experts and community members are here to help you get there.

How do you think VARs can benefit from the growth in the healthcare IT market? Let us know in the comments.