Adverse Effects of Internet Downtime in Healthcare
In recent years, multi-location healthcare facilities and hospital partnerships have been on the rise. Government initiatives and mandates coupled with an industry shift to value-based medicine have pushed many healthcare facilities into working together to cut costs and boost quality of care for patients.
One of the most important factors in ensuring that these needs are met is maintaining streamlined communication amongst facilities – starting with fast reliable Internet. The Internet plays a key role in running nearly every aspect of a healthcare facility and any disruption or downtime can create adverse effects on the healthcare facility as well as its patients.
Decreased Efficiency and Patient Care
Multi-location healthcare providers depend on communication between locations to remain efficient and provide the best patient care. Whether it’s consulting with a physician based at a different location or sending medical records and images from facility to facility, a reliable, robust Internet connection is crucial to maintaining an efficient workflow. In the event of an outage, physicians might not be able to consult with one another about a patient’s condition or treatment in a timely manner, which ultimately affects the patient’s overall care. In addition, not having immediate access to a patient’s chart or medical records can leave physicians in the dark on important factors like overall medical history, dietary restrictions, test results, medications and more.
Furthermore, Internet downtime can affect patients that are not even physically at the healthcare facility. What if a potential new patient is trying to call and schedule a first time appointment? The inability to speak with a representative could turn them away from the facility all together, hurting overall business. Or what if a current patient is attempting to schedule a follow up? With difficulties scheduling appointments at their convenience, patients become too preoccupied or forget to call back, ultimately interrupting treatment plans and care.
In today’s ever changing healthcare industry every dollar counts. Healthcare providers and facilities simply cannot afford to lose money. Yet, according to a recent white paper accessing the financial impact of downtimes, businesses lose between $84,000 and $108,000 dollars for every hour an IT system experiences downtime. And for healthcare the number is even higher at $636,000 an hour.
Not to mention, many of the government regulations healthcare facilities face impose compliance obligations. For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) established a required timeframe for providing requested information. A downtime in Internet service could result in the failure of providing this type of information in a timely manner, imposing strict fines and/or government penalties on the facility.
How to Prevent Downtimes
The best way for healthcare facilities to prevent an Internet downtime or outage is to be proactive and install a proper Internet service before an issue even arises. While many facilities think installing multiple T-1 or DSL lines can offer them the protection they need, the truth is that if one of these lines goes down, the other lines will likely follow suit. At One Ring Networks, our bundled solutions ensure that everything from electronic health records, X-rays and medical files are all seamlessly shared within the network, providing healthcare providers the opportunity to focus on what matters most – their patients.
We provide our multi-location healthcare clients like Thomas Eye Group in Atlanta and STX healthcare in Dallas with a mix of different services, from voice and fixed wireless data to fiber and Ethernet Over Copper (EOC) wired services. These solutions, combined with our 24 hour managed services, allow for on-going communication between multiple facility locations throughout the day. Looking to equip or upgrade your healthcare facilities Internet service? Contact us today.