While residential Aged Care only makes up around 7% of Aged Care services in Australia, this still accounts for nearly 100,000 elderly Australians receiving dedicated care in these facilities around the country. As a digital environment, Aged Care facilities are unique in that they need to facilitate a range of outcomes, not least of which is health monitoring.
For network administrators and IT managers in these environments, the technology landscape is rapidly evolving with new health devices constantly being introduced to their network, each of which has an entirely different set of bandwidth and security demands. What solutions should Aged Care organisations be considering to ensure their network is facilitating better care delivery?
State of the art facilities
There is no one size fits all facility when it comes to Aged Care, but the facilities themselves are constantly being built or upgraded. Whether they’re new multi-story residential complexes or smaller assisted living facilities, there is a range of connectivity requirements to consider.
Some independent retirees will expect user-friendly wireless internet access so they can stay connected with their family. Those facilities housing residents with high healthcare dependencies will require resilient, high-performing, enterprise-grade networks. In many scenarios, facilities will need to manage a dynamic mix of network outcomes across each of these varying care levels.
Health devices improve healthcare delivery
In addition to many of the hospital-grade equipment we expect in high-needs Aged Care facilities, there is also a continuing proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) and RFID devices that place additional demand on facility networks. These devices are now being used to monitor movement through facilities using wayfinding and geolocation, as well as safety sensors to immediately detect falls.
Other devices are being commonly deployed for monitoring health vitals such as heart rate, blood pressure, sugar levels and temperature. Some residents can even enter their own information such as glucose levels, allowing them to maintain a level of independence while still being remotely monitored by care workers. There are also discussions of smart toilets that analyse waste so that care managers can monitor nutrition and other biometrics.
Secure networks for secure data
The health sector is also one of the most targeted industries by cyber criminals, with 34% of ransomware attacks now impacting healthcare providers specifically. Not only can attacks like these affect client data, they can cause irreparable damage to a provider’s reputation if healthcare delivery is impacted – which is why an enterprise-grade security solution is vital.
Aged Care facilities cannot afford to deal with the disruption of data breaches and cybersecurity incidents that could impact care delivery, and in a worst-case scenario, cost lives. Care providers need to have confidence that their networks can securely transmit data throughout a facility in real-time, without the risk of downtime or a breach.
Achieving this level of always-on yet secure connectivity require an enterprise-grade network security solution such as Aruba ClearPass that leverages centralised policies, dynamic network segmentation and AI for spotting and responding to potential attacks. This will allow care providers to adopt a zero-trust approach for keeping residents and vital health systems secure.
At Trident, we’ve worked with many aged care providers to help them modernise and upgrade their networks to improve security and care delivery. As an Aruba Gold partner, our experienced team use a highly consultative approach to designing and deploying network solutions that are tailored specifically to each facility’s unique needs. If you would like to discuss the network challenges your facility faces, please feel free to get in touch with us today.
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