A reliable communication solution is paramount to offering the best level of care possible. Providers need reliable voice and data solutions to fulfill several essential healthcare processes, including accessing patient records, monitoring medical equipment, ensuring communication between locations and managing a fleet of first-responders. Satellite communication should be a strong consideration for this industry.

Business continuity plans

Natural disasters are on the rise and healthcare organizations need to be ready to deal with the increased chance of events that add to the workloads of employees and infrastructure. One way to prepare for these tragic occurrences is to enact a business continuity plan. These plans are designed to allow healthcare centers to operate and maintain logistical integrity during times of unusually high demand. They define known critical processes and outline how they will be maintained during these emergency situations over a variety of timelines. Healthcare organizations experience some specific challenges when it comes to developing a business continuity plan:

  • Determining the scope of the plan. As an essential topic to address, the scope of a business continuity plan can balloon into something impractical or impossible. It’s a fine line, however, as you also don’t want to skimp on analysis only to be overwhelmed if disaster strikes. Many data points need to be assessed and considered so that your organization develops a practical plan that will be approved by management and stakeholders.
  • Maintaining HIPAA compliance. Privacy concerns are paramount in the healthcare industry and your plan needs to comply with current standards for communications and patients’ personal data integrity. Your communication system and data storage centers will need to meet specific guidelines.
  • Accounting for changes in demand. Your systems must be extremely reliable in order to withstand the added demand they will face in crisis situations. Procedures will also need to be in place for when demand lowers to normal levels again later. It can be tricky to estimate this change in overall workload.

The best solutions to solve communication-related issues involve rock-solid, reliable systems that prevent data delays and losses. A high level of redundancy is key; a backup communications system should kick in immediately if the primary solution experiences downtime. Common messaging solutions such as SMS (Short Messaging Service) that are widely used in everyday life are often inadequate for healthcare providers. This is because protected health information must be encrypted while it is being transmitted and stored. Since encryption algorithms are not the same across third-party communications companies such as Apple or Google, it’s all but impossible to implement proper encryption through SMS. It also lacks key functionality for HIPAA compliance, such as enabling authorized users to monitor information and automatically logging users out of the network after a certain period of time.

Satellite communications

Where SMS is lacking, satellite communication offers a robust solution that solves these common problems. Satellite voice and data are suitable for:

  • Accessing databases and patient records. Satellite offers fast, reliable, high-bandwidth data and voice communications. This information can be safely encrypted to meet HIPAA requirements while remaining accessible to the proper healthcare professionals.
  • Ensuring communication with remote locations or first responders. Reliable communication in rural areas or for first response teams is crucial. Since satellites orbit the Earth in the upper atmosphere or higher, they are very well shielded against natural disasters. You’ll still be able to seamlessly communicate to coordinate ambulance fleets, monitor first responders and more.

Using satellite communications as part of your business continuity plan can go a long way toward minimizing common problems. Satellite can easily adhere to HIPAA requirements and provide fast, reliable data transfer even in remote areas. With these large stumbling blocks out of the way, your organization can spend more time gathering and analyzing the vast amount of information it needs to develop a great business continuity plan.

Beyond continuity planning

Satellite communications aren’t just useful for developing a healthcare center’s continuity plan. They also offer an important set of advantages for:

  • Healthcare providers in remote areas. Rural areas don’t need adequate healthcare only in emergency situations. For even basic healthcare operations, being so isolated creates large problems. Areas that don’t have easy access to high-speed communications can now enjoy high-bandwidth satellite data transfer no matter where they’re located.
  • Providers of telemedicine services. It is estimated that by 2025, the telemedicine industry will be over a $130 billion Telemedicine is a disruptive force in the healthcare world that gives more options than ever to those who otherwise wouldn’t have it. Satellite communication is the best choice for these types of systems due to the strengths listed above, such as HIPAA compliance and coverage range.

SatBlue for your healthcare organization

SatBlue is leading the way in healthcare satellite communication. Whether you’re looking to enact a business continuity plan or just looking for a HIPAA-compliant, high-speed communications solution, SatBlue is the best choice. It features:

  • Internet redundancy and connectivity for remote locations. Our satellites cover over two-thirds of the Earth, so even the most remote locations can have redundant, high-speed data transfer.
  • PBX voice redundancy. Both internal and external communication systems are redundant and can be set up to switch seamlessly to satellite voice in times when communications are limited. This means your organization will never be without much-needed lines of communication.
  • A la carte flexibility. SatBlue Flex is an option that gives you the ability to pick and choose the services your organization needs. You get a customized plan without the extra cost usually associated with a custom system. Define your needs in a business continuity plan, and we can help you tailor your services to meet it.

X2nSat is a trusted satellite telecommunications company that has been in business for 22 years. It’s proud to launch the SatBlue program to provide healthcare organizations with the solutions they need to meet the demands of the modern healthcare world. If you would like more information about SatBlue or any of our other solutions, contact its experts today to discuss your needs.

About the Author

Cara is the marketing coordinator at X2nSat. She's a social media maverick, a content genius, and an author in her spare time. Writing and marketing are her true passions.