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Next-Gen Data Centres and 5G Transforming the Healthcare Industry

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Data centres are breaking free from physical constraints. Modern data centres are dynamic amalgamations of both cloud and on-premises resources distributed across multiple physical locations. These centres are equipped with the automation and intelligence required to efficiently process applications. They create an IT environment characterised by simplicity, adaptability, and responsiveness, enabling IT professionals to redirect their focus from system maintenance to pioneering business solutions. These next-generation data centres are renowned for their scalability, reliability, high availability, and business continuity features.

Data has become the cornerstone in several segments of life, and the same has shown up in the field of healthcare. “As healthcare is a dynamic process, evolution needs constant vigilance to understand the robust demands of the system,” says Dr. Jagadeesh Kumar V, Senior Consultant Physician, KIMS Hospitals. “It has laid the path for the progress in various domains of healthcare, to analyse, to evaluate and pinpoint the areas of necessity, which includes health education, patient safety, infection control, proactive anticipation of the forthcoming health hazards. By addressing the issues in each area on more definite and accurate models, data centre solutions have hastened the growth of healthcare both in terms of quality and quantity.

He also referred to the pandemic as a critical turning point in the healthcare industry. During the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals were forced to adapt by shifting to online consultations. The data collected during this period proved to be a valuable resource, shedding light on both the opportunities and challenges that the healthcare sector needed to address.

In healthcare, there are many high-resolution images and files which may require high-throughput computational processing for diagnostics and design. With 5G, for example, after receiving an MRI or CT-scan, images can be sent in real time to where they need to be analysed to provide a diagnosis. “With 5G, telemedicine platforms can support high-resolution video and audio streams in real time, enabling healthcare professionals to communicate with patients. In addition to high-quality video and audio, 5G also offers significantly reduced latency compared to previous wireless technologies. The objective of 5G is focused on wearable health monitors that can perform local data analysis without connecting to the cloud, for example, a heart rate monitor that can independently analyse health data and provide the necessary response immediately to alert caregivers when patients need help,” says Dr. Makarand Sawant, Vice President – Information Technology, Sahyadri Hospitals.

Infection control currently stands as one of the most formidable challenges in healthcare. New-generation data solutions, coupled with the power of 5G technology, have not only made this challenge more compelling but have also paved the way for a diverse array of opportunities. As a result, the methodologies for teaching, treatment, and healthcare planning have undergone a significant transformation. Dr. Kumar highlights that the integration of new-generation data centre solutions with 5G technology has played a crucial role in identifying sector-specific and regional challenges, as well as disease patterns. This, in turn, has led to the development of tailored solutions and algorithms.

5G technology brings greater efficiency, better outcomes for patients, and more access to medical expertise all around the world, ultimately improving the quality of healthcare services everywhere.  “In my opinion the emergence of 5G will lead to more embedded devices or wearables that will help bring big computers and data closer to point of care thus making the usage of technology more user specific, secure, accessible and decentralised,” says Priyanku Konar, CTO, HaystackAnalytics.

Konar also mentioned that it marks a new paradigm shift in patient engagement and enhances the patient experience with technology, offering them more immersive UI and UX experiences on devices capable of leveraging Web3 standards, providing a metaverse-like experience that makes their journey more intuitive, immersive, and relevant.

In the evolving landscape of digital healthcare, patient’s data security and privacy are one of the most crucial aspects due to the growing complexity of IT systems which can escalate the threats to patient data. Dr. Sawant reminds us that security involves a variety of measures to protect organisations from external and internal cyber-attacks and ensure the availability of medical services, proper operation of medical systems and equipment, preservation of the confidentiality and integrity of patient data, and compliance with industry regulations. Monitoring access to sensitive data offering the right access control to the right user and limiting access to information based on the concept of least privilege will ensure that the right user is using the data.

HIPAA, GDPR, and DPDP Act consist of the privacy and security rules. The privacy rule dictates who has access to an individual’s medical records and what they can do with that information. Under the security rule, a health organisation needs to do their due diligence and work to keep patient data secure and safe.

The convergence of next-gen data centres and 5G technology represents a groundbreaking shift that promises to enhance patient care, improve accessibility, and enhance data security. Looking ahead, we can expect to see even more applications of AI in areas like drug development, medical diagnosis, and patient care. Patient Empowerment with greater access to health information and online resources, patients are becoming more informed and proactive about their own healthcare. Telemedicine, mobile health, virtual conferencing, and the internet of medical things (IoMT) are emerging healthcare technology trends.

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