Healthcare organizations have a variety of unique needs when it comes to their network and IT infrastructure. For this reason, it’s always been difficult for healthcare organizations to adopt modern technology standards — not only is privacy a major concern, but so is the access and availability of care. For healthcare organizations to best transition to new technology, they need assurances that their network will be designed with their industry in mind. The Medical Grade Network is considered to be a solution for this; a network that is designed specifically to meet the needs and requirements of the medical industry.
Developing a Medical Grade Network
One of the core challenges to the development of a MGN involves the interactions between the network’s different departments. Healthcare organizations generally have a variety of networks which overlap, which can include medical equipment, clinical data, general data, voice and audio, and more. All of this must be tied into a single IT infrastructure for the purposes of easier monitoring and maintenance, but the security levels between these networks still need to be maintained. This has led to the need for a converged network, through which multiple networks can be connected but not consolidated. Maintaining disparate networks almost universally leads to issues with quality of service and cost.
Maintaining Security Standards through the MGN
Within a healthcare network, there are numerous network areas that have escalated levels of security. The goal of an MGN is to provide these isolated security levels while still making it easier to maintain the system through consolidated dashboards and systems. For these purposes, a hierarchy is generally established in terms of security and resources. The converged network will require advanced maintenance and load balancing to ensure that all parts of the system are able to function effectively. Each layer of the system is connected with a core layer, and a perimeter distribution layer protects the system from external threats through the Internet. Traffic within the network is then prioritized based on the hierarchy of needs that the medical organization has; mission critical data will rise to the top, whereas communication such as interactive video may rise to the bottom.
On a whole, the medical industry still has a long way to go in terms of networking and IT technology. Still, there have been great strides made in the last decade, which have improved both patient outcomes and the overall quality of care. As the medical industry moves forward into establishing rigorous Medical Grade Network standards, it will be able to more easily outsource its IT infrastructure and quickly adapt to newly available technology.