Fiber Internet is a connectivity option made possible with cables filled with glass or plastic strands. Beams of light pulse in a pattern when data travels through them. Here are five benefits many hospital decision-makers see when upgrading to fiber Internet at their facilities.

1. Eliminating Downtime

An Internet outage is frustrating for most people experiencing it. However, when the issue affects hospital operations, it could become a life-and-death matter.

Nebraska’s Sidney Regional Medical Center serves several counties in the state’s Western Panhandle. However, the facility dealt with unreliable connectivity that directly impacted patient care and provider workflows.

Chief Information Officer Jennifer Brockhaus explained, “Between multiple sites, staff, and departments, we need stable and reliable Internet to maintain communications, exchange critical health records, and deliver quality care to our patients. Unfortunately, the connectivity offered by our previous internet provider was very inconsistent, so we often suffered from downtimes and slow speeds that hindered our operations.”

The hospital solved the problems by switching to a new provider and installing dedicated fiber lines between all of the facilities’ locations. Those changes virtually eliminated the previous struggles with downtime, bringing more patient satisfaction.

2. Increasing Digital Health Opportunities

Giving patients access to digital services, such as telemedicine, could improve their outcomes and mean they don’t delay necessary treatment due to inconveniences.

People in some areas face long journeys to receive specialty care. Telemedicine removes those barriers. In 2019, data from the United Kingdom showed that nearly 40% of organizations in the region’s national health service still used copper-wire Internet connections.

That revelation led to a plan to upgrade all hospitals and medical practices to fiber-optic connections. The conclusion was that such improvements would expand digital health possibilities, including those concerning telemedicine.

3. Improving COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Opportunities

COVID-19 vaccines are now available throughout the United States. That means health care providers and hospitals must shift into a new phase to encourage uptake among the population. For example, one health expert estimated that up to 30% of patients may not return for their second rounds of two-dose vaccines.

Other people eligible to get the vaccines now may have vaccine-related fears that hospital staff members could ease. Individuals may also not understand the process of getting vaccinated.

Fiber Internet access ensures people at hospitals can stay connected to the patients who need their advice. It also creates opportunities to create new outreach methods.

For example, the Department of Veterans Affairs and its associated hospital network has a vaccine chatbot that tells users how to get their vaccines. Reliable Internet access is a crucial element for offering such services.

4. Enabling Faster Speeds

The desire for faster Internet speeds is often a prominent factor that pushes everyday Internet users to seek providers that offer quicker data transfer capabilities. Federal authorities decided that high-speed Internet must provide at least a 25 Mbps download speed and 3 Mbps for uploads. However, hospitals understandably have more robust needs.

Recommendations state that those facilities should have 100–1,000 Mbps at a minimum, depending on size. Fortunately, fiber Internet can easily surpass those requirements. Some providers offer customers speeds reaching 1 Gbps.

Fiber optic speeds facilitate delay-free data sharing between people at different facilities within a hospital’s network, for example. Fast connectivity can also boost patient care, such as by allowing hospitals to provide real-time monitoring.

5. Improving Performance for Time-Sensitive Tasks

Many people take Internet access for granted. However, a prominent digital divide prevents some individuals from having easy access to the online world. That problem can affect e-learning, remote work, and more. Inconsistent Internet access is widespread in rural areas. It can affect health care professionals as well as casual Internet users.

Hospital staff members at dozens of facilities in rural New Zealand got fiber Internet access as part of a government initiative. The CEO at one of the locations that received an upgrade reported that the change made significant differences for handling urgent tasks.

For example, he noted that his facility previously relied on a courier service to bring X-rays to radiologists and specialists elsewhere. However, that method resulted in frequent delayed responses. After getting fiber Internet installed, the facility’s employees could instantly send digital images to the relevant parties.

Fiber Internet Improves Hospital Results

This list highlights some of the reasons why fiber Internet could help hospitals improve outcomes. However, many of the detailed benefits also apply to organizations in other industries. Thus, fiber Internet is well worth consideration by people eager to get better Internet service.

Published: May 26, 2021 • Guest Author: Devin Partida