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HiMSS 2014 Feature Articles

March 03, 2014

Cable Companies Serving Healthcare, a Good Move for Both Industries

Sometimes we assume doctors know everything, but they don’t; they know the human body, the same way the rest of us know human resources or brake systems or rocket launch codes. And when someone offers a doctor a simple solution to something that’s making their life hard they usually have a surprising level of appreciation.

Cable companies have realized this and are getting into the medical technology game, which could turn out to be a gold mine for both: cash for the cable industry and resources for healthcare. As an industry, medicine continues to grow toward more technology use, meaning as time goes on they will only need more and more service, at whatever cost. More than most, it’s an industry that needs reliability and scalability and may be willing to pay a premium to any provider willing to work to make that happen. Cable companies not only have an established infrastructure for service both enterprise and residential customers, they excel at planning ahead and providing the next option before we even know we need it.

In a hospital setting cable companies are also uniquely positioned to provide both the business and professional connectivity required to get the work done, as well as entertainment packages that can make patients more comfortable. All things being equal, if you knew there was one hospital that provided XBox and one that didn’t which one would you ask the ambulance to deliver you to? (Note: Doctors do not advocate Xbox or any other gaming system as a means of therapy, and anyway you’re supposed to be resting in the hospital.)

And because we all need our HGTV or CNN, cable routes and support systems exist in communities where other providers might not have systems ready to provide the same connectivity speeds. But doctors from New York City to rural Indian reservations still need the ability to connect, and truly, patients want them to be able to. Not to mention proper, secure service can improve the quality of life for doctors. Long after most other industries started allowing access from home doctors still remained at offices and hospitals hours after their shift, usually updating charts, because the cost to upgrade remote access systems to HIPPA standards was too great. Thankfully many hospitals are now catching up but in an industry where practitioners are burning out at alarming rates, anything that can be done to ease stress is just good. Incidentally, automating medical records helps avoid simple mistakes from issues like handwriting – a stressor leading to chaos, one of the top four reasons for physician burnout.

At this year’s HIMSS conference, cable operators Charter Business, Comcast Business, Cox Business, and Time Warner Cable Business Class/NaviSite (News - Alert) were all on hand to talk up the benefits of linking healthcare through cable. Representatives from the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing noted that, “Research shows that many hospitals, clinics, and physicians' offices do not have the IT infrastructure necessary to support their goals for improved patient comfort and care.” As doctors need to be focused on saving lives it’s a fair bet that anything cable companies do to learn their needs and put together solutions will only be met with appreciation. 

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Technology Marketing Corporation

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