Saturday, February 16, 2019

Maria Lensing: The Network Platform for Healthcare’s Future

As a girl, Maria and her family traveled to Memphis, Tennessee to get cancer treatment for her sick brother. The miracle she observed, as the healthcare providers saved her brother’s life, ignited a passion for healthcare. Unfortunately, that passion didn’t apply to blood, so she went into electrical engineering and biomedical engineering, eventually falling in love with networking and data. Now Maria Lensing, Vice President of AT&T Healthcare Solutions, is in the perfect position for pursuing her dual passions of healthcare and advanced technology.
Maria’s interview with Dez Blanchfield started with this story as they talked AT&T healthcare solutions just ahead of HIMSS 2019 in Orlando Florida. HIMSS 2019 is the annual convention hosted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. This American not-for-profit organization dedicates itself to improving health care quality, safety, cost-effectiveness, and access through the best use of information technology and management systems. Listening to Maria, her primary goal, when working with AT&T’s healthcare industry clients is helping them:

·         Deal with the growth, aggregation, consumption, and distribution of data;
·         Manage devices of the Medical Internet of Things ecosystem, that use data (i.e., Fitbit, health sensors, medical instruments);
·         Self-define the healthcare provider engagement model (How do I engage my patients? How do I engage my doctors? How do I engage my payers? How do we prepare for the future?); and

·         Maintain security and privacy across all of these connections.

During the engaging and far-ranging discussion, the pair talked about how healthcare spending has grown significantly in the United States, most of which from private investors. That private investment is allowing for more innovation. While on the bright side, this innovation is driving longer lifespans, a dichotomy also exists. As people are living longer, we now have seniors that are suffering multiple chronic diseases: not diabetes or arthritis for instance, but diabetes and arthritis. Also, while urban areas are enabling telemedicine with 5G, the rural community in the US doesn’t have the same high bandwidth wireless coverage. 

As AT&T FirstNet rolls out to provide high bandwidth wireless capability to first responders, it can also improve our society’s ability to deliver telehealth solutions to our rural community elders. Imagine a First Responder drone, connected via high bandwidth wireless technology, delivering a medical sensor to a distressed patient. Through that network, healthcare providers could collect and interpret critical data as the initial conversation is taking place. This scenario could deliver lifesaving care almost immediately. The intersection of technologies like 5g, IoT, smaller computer chip form 

factors and better batteries coming together with lower prices for connectivity can create the perfect environment for healthcare innovation. Availability of these technologies pushes our concepts around the delivery and consumption of healthcare services into realms we've never experienced before.
AT&T Business is Delivering The Network Platform for Healthcare’s Future today. Called Edge-to-Edge, by moving computing power closer to the edge,  it delivers the data needed to support the required action. Be that action needed by the doctor holding a phone or action by a subcutaneous implant (an under the skin implant used to deliver a drug over a long period). By connecting quickly and reliably to the desired endpoint, data can be analyzed faster which leads to faster action.
With technologies like software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN), AT&T healthcare solutions team is not talking about replacement technology. They’re talking about technology that extends and enhances existing infrastructure. SD-WAN can also reduce the management costs and allow a business to seamlessly transition between all of those other critical technologies (i.e., MPLS, 5G, LTE, WiFi) so that the experience becomes truly mobile. By understanding this difference, the healthcare IT executive can focus on how all these technologies seamlessly transition data back and forth so that the healthcare team can deliver the best possible patient experience. According to Ms. Lensing, that is what’s meant an Edge-to-Edge solution.

All of this change is happening I an environment which sees the healthcare consumer expectation changing dramatically as well.  In the past, making an appointment and showing up at the doctor’s office at the appointed time was expected. Society has gone past going to the neighborhood health clinic for care when they feel sick to now some expect their wearable health monitor to collect real-time health data, use an artificial intelligence-driven assistant to diagnose an illness, and order the correct medication over the internet.

For more, please listen to the Conversations with Dez podcast.  For more on this, visit the AT&T Healthcare Solutions page for more information. 

This post was brought to you by AT&T Business. For more content like this, visit

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