Securing healthcare connectivity to improve patient digital experiences

The imminent surge of IoT devices, including medical equipment, presents opportunities to revolutionize patient care, yet it brings security.

PCQ Bureau
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Securing healthcare connectivity to improve patient digital experiences

The imminent surge of IoT devices, including medical equipment, presents opportunities to revolutionize patient care, yet it brings security challenges that healthcare organizations must address.


For the past years, the healthcare industry has been navigating the tricky waters of digital transformation. The telemedicine market has the maximum potential in the eHealth segment in India. It isexpected to reach US$ 5.4 a billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31%, according to the Inc42 Plus report titled India’s eHealth Market Opportunity Report.

Within the past decade alone, we’ve seen an explosion of new forms of healthcare come to prominence, from telehealth to fully digitally managed care – all of which organizations have had to grapple with.

Fast forward to 2025, and there will be an estimated 30 billion connected IoT devices on the planet, a sizeable portion of which will include both personal and health-provider-issued medical devices. These could take the form of anything from smart displays in patients’ rooms and glucose monitoring systems to digital hearing aids or responsive lighting and temperature controls.


Patients, family members, and healthcare staff not only have high expectations for such devices and the applicationsused, but alsofor how secure their data is. As the type of devices used increases and our level of interaction with them grows, these expectations will only rise. For many healthcare organizations, meeting this demand will require major investment – from creating entirely new systems to support and host vast amounts of patient data and connecting hundreds if not thousands of wireless and wired medical devices to healthcare networks, to updating existing infrastructure to make sure patients’ experiencesare seamless.

While these new devices promise to vastly improve patient lives, they also open healthcare providers to an increased danger of cyber threats and breaches. So, what can IT organizations do to support their digital transformation efforts in a secure and easily accessible manner? Fundamentally, they need to invest in a network that offers visibility and a Zero Trust network security model that extends from the infrastructure to the policies supported. Here are the three key things for healthcare IT teams to consider.

Enabling Security with an edge-to-Cloud Security Strategy


In the past, healthcare networks were relatively logical in their design – smaller in scope and broadly segmented for data applications, voice, patients, guests, and perhaps more recently, IoT devices.

In today’s world however, network surface areas have expanded rapidly, and so too has the potential for cyberattacks. In response, the most secure healthcare network environments have begun to follow a micro-segmentation strategy that aligns withtheimplementation of anedge-to-cloud Zero Trust security model.

Edge-to-cloud Zero Trust security models utilizesoftware-definedauthentication and authorization controls and policies that ensure devices and users receive only the necessary amount of network privileges needed. Networks using such systems have several advantages – including being able to dynamically segment devices and users through contextual considerations versus just device type. Such considerations include:

  • Is the device approved to access certain sections of the network or not?
  • Does thedevice belong to a staff member or a patient/visitor?
  • Is the device connecting from within the hospital or remotely?

As a result,healthcare IT teams can provide a differentiated level of access regardless ofwhether the device belongs to staff, the facilities department (think IoT and building automation), visitors, or patients. With this approach, all users are able toconnect their devices to the network and receive the expected results.

In addition to automatically determining what devices are being connected and providing the proper level of access controlbased on preordained policies, a comprehensive Zero Trust network security modelshould alsoperform ongoing security checks.Continuously monitoring activity helpsidentify abnormal behavior as neededand enables remediation (i.e.denying improper access to data or services).


For environments that offer access from anywhere, IT organizations should also consider security controls that can be applied to devices no matter where they connect. A unified approach should offer the ability to leverage secure access service edge (SASE)and security service edge (SSE) that offer the flexibility to choose integration solutions using a single—or multi-vendor approach.

Streamlining Network Operations with Automation

For healthcare institutions to modernize their digital infrastructure, they must also simplify network operations, reducing the time spent by their IT teams on manual tasks and combining network and security insights to ensure the best possible performance and security of the environment. The winning strategy here? AI networking and AI for IT Operations (AIOps) solutions. These can assist healthcare IT teams by helping with the deployment of a network, streamlining troubleshooting analysis and tasks, and unlocking optimization opportunities.


AI networking features are intended to help IT organizations understand how their networks are performing and identify when there are issues. This is done by automatically collecting terabytes of data from each access point, switch, gateway, and endpoint client to create a baseline that is used for performance and security use cases. AI-powered profiling of endpoints even provides an accurate view of the types and number of devices connecting to healthcare networks.

Without theguesswork and manual processes associated with older management solutions and infrastructure, real-time insights and alerts meanthat IT teams can easily digest a wealth of data that consists of recommended network configuration changes and how to put together better security profiles.Essentially, they can reduce the time and resources spent on the mundane and focus instead on more important strategic tasks and ensuring an optimal environment for critical high-performance clinical applications.

Investing In High-Performance Wi-Fi


The healthcare sector has long pioneered the use of technology and was an early adopter of using Wi-Fi to help clinicians deliver an enhanced patient experience. This has, however, had some unintended consequences due to the rapid advances in Wi-Fi technology over the past twenty years– coupled with the regulatory processes required for vendors to update this technology. What thishas led to hasbeen progressively incorporating newer Wi-Fi-connected devicesthat must coexist with older endpoint devices. Itisvery common to find many of these older devices still in use today. 

Patients and providers alike arealso bringing in the newest mobile devices and laptops available. This means that healthcare networks have all types and ages of devices on them – from infuser pumps from 2008 to smartphones from 2023. This co-mingling of old and new devices on the same network can causeapplication performance problems, and in turn, user mistrust of the mobile environment.

Fortunately,new Wi-Fi standards have consistently offeredconnectivity future-proofingfor both the older and newer devices, without any negative effects. Wi-Fi 6E standards,for example, allow older devices to remain connected to the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network,but put high-performance endpoints developed over the past ten years (such as laptops and mobile phones) on the “workhorse” 5GHz Wi-Fi network.The newest Wi-Fi 6E capable devices are connected to the 6GHz Wi-Fi network.This division of RF bandwidth gives devices breathing space and ensures devices are able to perform seamlesslyfor the long term.

The use of IoT devices is only growing and if healthcare organizations wish to meettheir patients’ digital experience expectations, they must take their security to the next level. The implementation of Zero Trust network security models is vital in taking a major step forward to achieving this and allowing healthcare organizations todynamicallysecure and deliver on their mission of empowering their staff to provide essential care and ensuring patients and guests alike have a hassle-free, secure experience.

The healthcare revolution and shift toward Intelligent Health Ecosystem is not just an opportunity but an urgent need in India.

Prakash Krishnamoorthy HPE

Prakash Krishnamoorthy HPE

Author: Prakash Krishnamoorthy, Director - India at HPE Aruba Networking