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Be the Change: 3 Key Takeaways from HIMSS21

Brad Kilbey, SVP, Public Sector, Education and Healthcare

For those who work in the healthcare sector, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Global Health Conference is the biggest and most inspiring event of the year. After a year like no other, this year’s conference served as a venue to highlight an industry that has triumphed in the face of a global pandemic as well as managed to continue to innovate, even amid the chaos. The HIMSS theme, “Be the Change,” was an apt choice to reinforce the conference’s purpose of imagining a future of healthcare that’s possible through technology, education, innovation, and collaboration.

Technology has always played a pivotal role in the advancement of healthcare. During the past two years, however, the adoption and leveraging of AI, BI, IoT, and telehealth are transforming the sector. At Zayo, supporting the healthcare sector with differentiated network and managed service solutions is top-of-mind for us – one of the many reasons why I was eager to attend HIMSS21. The following are three key takeaways and my view of how technology will complement the innovative healthcare industry across the next several years.

Partnerships are key.

Nobody got through 2020 — and for that matter 2021, — alone. The demands of the pandemic put a never-before-experienced strain on healthcare workers and its ecosystem, but it also opened the door to a new way of thinking: namely, partnerships and collaboration between investors, technologists, and the healthcare industry to solve unprecedented challenges. The spirit of collaboration at the HIMSS21 conference reinforced that we want to be the partner of choice for our healthcare customers, but we also want to continue engaging with their broader ecosystem to help offer holistic solutions.

Telehealth is becoming the norm.

Covid proved to be the catalyst for the mass adoption of telemedicine. The convenience, safety, access to remote expertise, improved patient outreach, and standard of care resulted in lower costs and improved patient experiences and outcomes. The intersection of telehealth and technology insists on high bandwidth, scalable, secure low latency networks such as Zayo’s. This, combined with our Tier 1 Internet (IP) backbone and Cloud on-ramps, provides just the right solution.

Digital transformation and the adoption of AI/BI/IoT is happening rapidly.

A recent HIMSS survey estimated that over half of healthcare organizations have not progressed beyond the pilot stage with their digital transformation projects, such as SD-WAN, cloud computing, and AI tools. It now looks like recent federal funding initiatives might pave the way to the expansion of this crucial push. Of course, hyper-secure, high-speed, reliable data links are an essential underlay capability.

Zayo’s focus in this area is helping healthcare providers to scale their operations in a secure, high-speed way by connecting to both private and public data centers and hosted applications. By employing infrastructure products, such as Tier 1 IP or an SD-WAN architecture, healthcare organizations can more easily leverage telemedicine, as well as collaboration and AI/ML tools that are backed with DDoS protection as well.

In so many ways, the healthcare industry is showing how they can “Be the Change” in delivering life-enhancing and life-saving solutions. It’s inspiring to learn about these exciting innovations and consider new ways that Zayo and others in the IT infrastructure sector can bring about these changes by providing critical services that make many of these innovations possible. I left Las Vegas ready to deliver the next critical technologies and thankful for all the people who provided salient insights into an industry that quite literally can’t be stopped. I’m looking forward to working with all of you to “Be the Change” in 2021 and beyond.