Telehealth Underground: Why Subterranean Data Centers Provide The Most Resilient Infrastructure For Telemedicine Data
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According to the American Telemedicine Association, more than one-half of U.S. hospitals now have a telehealth program in place. Overall, 71 percent of healthcare providers are using telehealth or telemedicine technologies to provide medical services in ambulatory and inpatient settings. Telehealth produces a deluge of data, including vital sign and symptom collection from patients, leading some healthcare providers to worry that critical information may get lost in the coming data tsunami which might provide a basis for medical malpractice complaints. Yet the telehealth market is predicted to grow by 14.3 percent to hit $36.2 billion by 2020, up from $14.3 billion five years ago, and almost 75 percent of Americans report that they are willing to schedule a telemedicine appointment as an alternative to traditional medical services.
Telehealth data has a variety of important uses beyond the diagnosis and treatment of each patient, both for individual health organizations and population health research. Without modern data management technology, there is no efficient way to analyze the data aggregated from large patient populations or ultimately use it to support data-driven healthcare decisions. Patient information is stored in data centers with varying levels of security and most healthcare data centers have HIPAA/HITECH certifications. However, these certifications do not guarantee patient record security. Moreover, there is another pressing security issue: the physical resilience of the data center itself.
A useful analogy to help healthcare and telemedicine practitioners better understand the protection that underground data centers provide to mission-critical assets and data is to consider the structure of the human body. The organs that are critical to a human’s functionality are located inside the body, protected by walls of bone, muscle and skin. Without this surrounding fortification, vital organs would become vulnerable to outside forces, increasing mortality. Similarly, when compute, storage and networking components occupy a resilient underground data center, telemedicine data is protected from both natural and man-made assaults on its functioning. This ensures that this vital information can remain available to healthcare practitioners in order to provide better health outcomes for all. Before we consider the underground option, let’s take a look at other criteria.