3 Challenges of Endpoint Management in the Healthcare Industry

November 17, 2020 by Charlene Wan

Thanks to the rise of endpoint devices like smartphones and the Internet of Things (IoT), our world has become much more connected. Whether it’s making our day-to-day lives more convenient with products connected to smart homes or powering smart industrial factories, endpoint devices enable the processing, transmitting, storing, and  data. However, endpoints are also driving digital transformation in other vital industries, such as healthcare.

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Ultra-low-power embedded solutions have managed to lower the power consumption by a factor of 16. When your IoT endpoint device can last up to weeks or even years without a battery recharge or replacement, many use cases become possible. This post will specifically focus on the impact of embedded devices on battery-powered endpoint devices in healthcare and examine the current use cases, benefits, and challenges.

Managing Endpoints in Healthcare

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Today, many healthcare organizations are already using many endpoint devices, such as blood pressure monitors, IV pumps, electrocardiogram and MRI machines, and implanted defibrillators. Other commonly found devices include printers, the imaging suite, biomedical devices, and IoT devices. The increase in the number of devices has made it more difficult for IT departments to manage.

As the number of devices grows, healthcare IT professionals must deal with two challenges in endpoint management. First is the issue of optimizing healthcare providers’ access to these lifesaving devices. The second is ensuring that these devices’ vital data are secured from harm. Unlike endpoints used in other industries like financial services, healthcare technologies are far less segmented. Different devices and applications need to communicate with each other to ensure excellent patient care. However, this also makes data security a more significant challenge.

Challenges

The number of networked medical devices and mobile endpoints across the healthcare industry is increasing, as is the amount of data being shared. More than ever, there is a great demand for real-time data to ensure that healthcare providers are making timely and accurate decisions for patient care. However, many healthcare organizations lack the IT resources to manage their network of endpoint devices effectively. These challenges include:

Security

Any time you have a network of connected devices transferring and sending data, there are bound to be questions of how to secure the data. Data security is especially important in healthcare, where sensitive patient data is sent between nurses, doctors, and surgeons regularly. However, according to a recent cybersecurity survey, only 22% of organizations did not experience a significant security incident in the previous 12 months. Security challenges are serious risks in the healthcare industry, and IT admins must be on the lookout for potential system vulnerabilities.

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Device Management

Modern hospitals and healthcare organizations can have difficulty managing all of their endpoint devices. Often, their IT department has trouble securing (or even knowing) the devices on the network. For example, something as simple as a printer can cause headaches when configuring security control. As printers become more complex in their functionality and more versatile in processing power, IT staff must devote more resources to updating and securing these machines. Other devices like biomedical devices and imaging suites may be leased or purchased on contracts, making it more expensive and troublesome to handle.

Battery Life

Driven by new AI paradigms and new endpoint machine learning technologies, many endpoint devices are embedded with powerful processor chips. These processors enable cloud processing, or endpoint edge processing. However, this also places a higher strain on the device’s battery capabilities. Battery life and processing performance are looming in the background as the IT staff tends to other things. There might be hundreds of endpoint devices and medical equipment in a large hospital or healthcare organization, making it impractical to replace these devices’ batteries manually.

How Ambiq Is Helping

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Whether it’s a blood pressure monitor or an IoT device, mission-critical endpoint devices need to be reliable in a healthcare setting. Especially for devices that rely on edge computing, a long-lasting battery life ensures that healthcare providers can spend more time with patients and less time troubleshooting tech problems.

At the heart of millions of endpoint devices is Ambiq’s ultra-low-power wireless MCUs and SoCs that support vital technologies required by modern healthcare organizations such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Powered by Ambiq’s products, IoT devices can continue to evolve and help deliver the best patient care possible.

Written by Charlene Wan
Charlene Wan
Written by Charlene Wan

Experienced marketing and communications executive with a successful track record in the technology industry on a global scale. Skilled in branding, go-to-market strategy, media relations, executive communications, and social media.