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● Network Infrastructure Considering

telehealth? T e right network infrastructure is critical. By Jim Gerrity, Ciena

to deliver a consistent level of care to patients, and provide access to medical experts, when citizens are distributed across vast geographies. People living in large cities have multiple choices within short distances for grocery stores, restaurants and other shopping options; people living in remote or rural areas sometimes have to drive hours just for a gallon of milk. The same geographic divide infl uences access to healthcare. While a network cannot


deliver milk and bread, it can dramatically level the playing field for medical profession- als to ensure all of their pa- tients – whether sitting 2 feet away on an exam table in their Manhattan offi ce or thousands of miles away in the wilds of Alaska – receive the same level of examination, diagnosis and treatment. By using fi xed and mobile broadband net- works, along with a variety of video conferencing, imaging, remote diagnostics (such as smartphone-based mobile health applications) and other tools, medical professionals can make the challenges of geographic distances disappear. T ese applications, categorized broadly as telehealth applications, are rapidly becoming a viable method for patient treatment, consultations, medical training, educa- tion, research and self-health monitoring. In fact, BCC Re- search indicates that the global market for telehealth is expected to grow from $11.6 billion in 2011 to $27.3 billion in 2016.

18 March 2013

s nations today focus on the development of healthcare programs and policies to ensure a healthy and productive workforce, many are faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle – how

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Network c hallenges Once confi ned to radiology departments, imaging services

are now pervasive across all departments, clinical specialties and even non-affi liated communities of interest. T ese im- age fi les can also be part of a person’s electronic health record (EHR), driving bandwidth needs through the roof as well as consuming more application and storage services and capac- ity. Network issues are further exacerbated when healthcare

organizations make use of new time-sensitive telehealth ap- plications that require real-time HD video and low latency, such as when patients suspected of having had strokes arrive at the emergency room and a remote consultation is required because no specialist is available. As new bandwidth-intensive applications and services are

introduced on the clinical side, network managers are often caught fl atfooted, creating planning nightmares. With new


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