Stamford, CT – Spectrum Enterprise, a part of Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR), today announced the results of a recent research study that reveals the priorities for connectivity, IT and telecommunications by healthcare decision-makers who are trying to support new care models and delivery methods in rural hospitals.
The rural healthcare market is embarking on a digital evolution, which presents significant opportunities to improve patient experience and outcomes, but also comes with a unique set of challenges.
“Increasingly, we’re seeing rural healthcare providers leverage fiber connectivity and cloud-based solutions to connect patients in rural communities to high-quality healthcare. However, enabling newer innovations, such as telehealth or virtual consultations, can be difficult for many providers due to aging network infrastructures,” said Theresa Dudley, Vertical Program Manager, Healthcare, Spectrum Enterprise. “This study indicates that robust connectivity and a high-performing fiber network will play a central role in enabling rural healthcare organizations to adopt new care models in order to enhance healthcare delivery to rural communities and improve patient satisfaction.”
The research, conducted by HIMSS Analytics, surveyed 100 decision-makers within IT roles across the U.S. rural hospital healthcare segment. Through a quantitative survey and in-depth interviews with personnel at provider organizations, the study offers insight into their strategic approaches to IT network connectivity and telecommunications within the rural healthcare market.
Key findings include:
- Telehealth capabilities are driving fiber connectivity improvement
The study found that most organizations already seem to be well positioned within their current IT plan and their fiber connectivity for telehealth. Respondents noted that distance exams and monitoring (47 percent) and video conferencing (40 percent) are driving their future focus to improve fiber connectivity in order to expand their reach through telehealth services and technologies. Not surprisingly, lack of budgeting was the primary barrier to implementing these types of initiatives.
- Cloud services, security and telemedicine are key priorities for rural healthcare
According to the survey, organizations with 75 beds or less considered cloud-based services and improved application performance as primary areas for fiber network connectivity. Offsite storage (21 percent) and geographically diverse network redundancy (20 percent) were the top two business continuity disaster recovery (BCDR) technologies rural health organizations are looking to invest in the future.
Additionally, when it came to clinical and/or technology-based initiatives, telemedicine (55 percent) and security (48 percent) were rated as the two highest-priority initiatives. Interestingly, the ranking of priorities varied slightly across regions, with security as the top priority in the North Region and telemedicine leading in the South and West Regions.
- Implementation cost is the primary obstacle when moving to fiber network connectivity
According to 73 percent of respondents, implementation cost – regardless of hospital bed size, network satisfaction, region and USAC funding status – was considered the biggest obstacle to overcome when moving to fiber network connectivity. One CIO respondent noted that the high cost for connectivity in their region, limited IT operating budget and increased pressure from their CEO to reduce overall IT operating budget impacted the organization’s ability to make updates to their infrastructure.
- Budget and clinician buy-in are hindering enhancements in rural healthcare delivery
Budget availability (67 percent) and clinician buy-in (55 percent) were listed as the top barriers to enhancing current processes, adopting new models of care and applying new care delivery methods. The study found that these challenges persist regardless of the organization’s regional location. One IT director from the study observed that physicians and practitioners more well-versed in current processes were more reluctant to adopt and utilize newer technologies to change their delivery models.
More insights and the full report are available here.
Spectrum Enterprise is an authorized service provider of the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program, a component of the Universal Service Administration Company’s (USAC) Rural Healthcare Program. In this role, Spectrum Enterprise provides broadband services to qualified healthcare organizations that receive USAC HCF program benefits in rural and underserved communities.
With more than 100 experienced professionals focused exclusively on healthcare, Spectrum Enterprise delivers the network infrastructure technology and services to help healthcare organizations improve outcomes, enhance patient and clinician experiences and reduce costs.
More information about healthcare solutions from Spectrum Enterprise is available at our website or booth #11353 in the Exhibit Hall at the HIMSS18 Conference taking place March 5-9 in Las Vegas, NV.
About Spectrum Enterprise
Spectrum Enterprise, a part of Charter Communications, is a national provider of scalable, fiber technology solutions serving many of America's largest businesses and communications service providers. The broad Spectrum Enterprise portfolio includes networking and managed services solutions: Internet access, Ethernet access and networks, Voice and TV solutions, Managed Application, Cloud Infrastructure and Managed Hosting Services. Our industry-leading team of experts works closely with clients to achieve greater business success by providing these solutions designed to meet their evolving needs. For more information, visit https://enterprise.spectrum.com.
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