“It’s not what you know, but who you know”. Working alone can create a cap on an organisation’s capabilities. Partnerships and ecosystem connections can offer unlimited opportunities for an organisation to scale and innovate.

Healthcare organisations can similarly grow their capabilities with the ability to connect beyond its four walls. They can work with patients, caregivers and tech providers to develop new treatments and make health services more accessible.

Rajaneesh Kurup, Head of Healthcare Strategy, APAC at Equinix, highlights the tools that are enabling care providers to connect with partners across the world. He shares case studies that demonstrate the power of forming new connections.

Better care with better connectivity

Connecting with patients is key for healthcare providers during the pandemic. Australia trialled a virtual hospital to monitor patients through wearable devices.

The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia was able to check on Covid-19 patients’ temperatures and oxygen levels while they were recuperating from home. The hospital would automatically dispatch ambulances to their houses if their condition worsens.

Not only can this connection assist in emergencies, but it can also help patients to understand their own conditions. The virtual hospital loans tablet devices to patients, containing an app that helps them view their own health data, wrote an Equinix report.

Healthcare organisations can treat patients faster by interconnecting with other research institutions. The Children’s Cancer Institute in Australia shares data with other research partners to help develop cancer treatments and create personalised medicine for its young patients.

The institute previously mailed this data to other organisations in physical memory disks, waiting weeks for information to be returned. To speed up this process, they worked with Equinix to set up data in the cloud, enabling near-instant data sharing with other healthcare teams, a video from Equinix explains.

Equinix’s tools can open doors to over 300 healthcare and lifesciences organisations, making medical data sharing more convenient. It can also help form connections with financial services for improved patient payment systems.

This ability to connect with many different partners can boost the efficiency, security and agility of healthcare organisations, Kurup says.

Providing new patient services

The capabilities of healthcare providers can grow as they adopt new tools for their backend computing. Sentara Healthcare, wanted to upgrade their systems to provide more digital services, such as telehealth, across their 12 hospitals and 300 care centres. But this would have put an unsustainable level of demand on their hospitals’ existing networks, Equinix wrote.

Sentara adopted Platform Equinix to gain access to multiple cloud systems, letting them create stable telehealth services. It was then able to handle a nearly 1500 per cent rise in telemedicine appointments due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the report wrote.

“If the global players like Equinix were not in this world, healthcare organisations like ours would not have been able to withstand this epidemic,” shared Matt Douglas, Chief Enterprise Architect for Sentara Healthcare & Optima Health.

Many cloud providers, content and digital media providers and network service providers are themselves using Equinix facilities. Healthcare institutions can securely interconnect with these organisations when becoming part of this group, Kurup shares.

For example, Sentara’s care facilities installed Amazon’s Alexa devices, giving patients access to the voice-controlled virtual assistant. This was made possible through Equinix’s tools, which brought together Sentara and Amazon Web Services’ cloud.

Joining this community of organisations reduces costs. Interconnecting to these ecosystems via Equinix, rather than on an individual basis, saved healthcare providers 60 to 70 per cent in cloud connectivity and network traffic costs.

“Healthcare was probably one of the least digitised industries among those we serve,” Kurup says. But over the last two years, the sector has been the site of many new innovations, he identifies.

While healthcare providers want to upgrade their services in this new digital age, they may lack a few pieces to the puzzle. Connections with other organisations or tech services can be those missing pieces which will take patient care to a new level.