Observability for Health and Life Sciences: Top 6 Challenges and How Monitoring Can Help

Observability for Health and Life Sciences: Top 6 Challenges and How Monitoring Can Help

The healthcare industry has been put under immense strain trying to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only has the whole industry had to adapt to remote working and remote medicine, but resources and capacity have also been maxed out while dealing with the burden of standard healthcare issues alongside the massive influx of patients. Human endeavor flourishes in the face of adversity, and the pandemic has driven exciting new developments in the way that vaccines are created and brought to market. It has also impacted the way that healthcare equipment is created, tested, and implemented in hospitals.

Some of the nascent technologies like remote triage of patients, telemedicine, and IoT have all seen an acceleration in innovation as the industry pivoted to deal with patients remotely. The art of the possible has translated into reality as the healthcare industry has managed to bring these early-stage technologies into everyday use. In this blog post, I’ll take a look at the exciting trends we are seeing in healthcare today and also explore some of the challenges that the industry faces.

Telemedicine and Virtual Care

As with a lot of the technological change over the past 18 months, development in this area of healthcare has been driven by Covid-19 and the mass lockdown of populations. Remote doctor’s appointments and assessments coupled with remote monitoring devices and digital triage devices are revolutionizing the way healthcare is delivered.

Connected Devices and IoT

Remote medicine is made possible by connected devices and remote sensor technology. From testing insulin levels to monitoring a patient’s heart rate, these devices allow clinicians to remotely manage chronic conditions without having to meet face to face with a patient. 

IoT devices can generate the data needed to make better predictions about what a patient’s healthcare needs will be and therefore improve patient outcomes significantly. What you do with that data and how you analyze the data for patterns becomes the focus for improving patient care. 

AI and Automation for Clinical Assessment

AI is already being put to good use to identify problems from scans in areas of medicine like radiology. Diagnostic error prevention and earlier diagnosis of problems are key benefits being delivered by AI. AI is starting to extend into areas like automated triage of problems and prescription handling, which takes the burden off of clinicians and allows them to focus on more advanced diagnoses and ultimately, see more patients.

Additionally, the rise of the chatbot across all industries is helping improve initial engagement with customers and reduces costs for companies.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

AR and VR are improving the way that clinicians are trained in the first place, providing a risk-free environment to practice complex procedures. Running through a checklist of steps in a procedure can improve operation success rates.

Virtual reality can also be a useful tool in surgery planning and discussion with patients as it allows a surgeon to describe a procedure in detail and show a patient exactly what is going to happen.

Using Big Data and AI to Refine Drug Development and Efficacy

Device and drug efficiency are both being improved by the use of data analytics with AI engines. Comparative studies are made significantly easier and cheaper using machine learning models to assess the effectiveness of new drugs to market or new medical devices.

AI can also be used to identify patterns between different drugs and diseases to help with the rapid prototyping of new drugs or new uses for existing drugs.

Challenges Faced by Health and Life Sciences Organizations

Data Integration Platforms to Leverage Big Data and AI

Remote monitoring sensors (wearables) find patterns in patient health data as well as the results from drug and equipment tests. With the exponential growth of data delivered from wearables, healthcare providers need a platform to manage this data. Being able to analyze data from many disparate sources using AI will become very important to businesses in the healthcare space as they continue to innovate and create new markets.

Finding the Balance Between Telehealth and In-Person Healthcare

As the pandemic forced most health consultations to be remotely delivered, it became clear that not all platforms worked well to do this and not all types of assessment can be achieved remotely. There will inevitably be a need for new systems and platforms.

Reinforcing the link between virtual and in-person appointments is essential to make sure follow-up appointments and prescriptions are delivered to patients – technology can help to bridge the gap with self-service portals/apps, or a care coordinator to help organize the process.

Securing the Health Supply Chain

During the pandemic, there was a certain degree of fragility in the healthcare supply chain not seen in other more agile industries like automotive and retail. To help de-risk the supply chain, health and life science organizations should identify and procure from multiple suppliers from different geographies. Smaller health authorities can join together to form buying groups to achieve economies of scale and get better pricing.

Being able to forecast trends in requirements for things like PPE, vaccine supplies, staffing for specific units will help health and life science organizations better predict surges in demand. This can be challenging to achieve because it requires data sharing across multiple organizations and also geographies.

Navigating the New Normal and the Remote Workforce

As the world races back to normality, will the businesses that forced their teams back into the office be successful? Or the ones that allowed flexible working? Facilitating a permanently remote workforce is a common challenge across many industries. It requires new systems and procedures to ensure that your staff has the right tools to do their jobs and that the business is properly secured.

Improving Technology to Assist Doctor Efficiency and Wellbeing

Often technology in healthcare is focused on the consumer/patient or the development of drugs and analytical tools. The clinician could benefit from reduced time spent on administrative tasks as well as a focus on the user experience within commonly used systems that manage things like health care records. Improving the technology user experience for doctors can improve productivity and also job satisfaction as more time can be spent treating patients.

The LogicMonitor Solution for Health and Life Sciences

Simplified Extensibility Into IoT, With Support for Medical Technology and Sensors to Ensure Availability and Improve Uptime

LogicMonitor is designed to monitor a wide variety of devices, but can also be easily customized to monitor medical apparatus and the vital sensor technologies which ensure the environment is not going to affect the performance of medical technology. Understanding temperature and humidity, as well as the supply of critical gases and liquids to medical equipment, allows IT teams to maintain high availability levels expected by healthcare professionals.

Adding a monitored instance in LogicMonitor

LogicMonitor makes custom monitoring templates straightforward with our rapid prototyping capabilities. LogicMonitor also has a large team of professional services engineers available to help users customize their monitoring based on needs.

LogicMonitor Helps You Forecast and Identify Anomalies

The health sector is a data business, both analyzing the efficacy of treatments and new drugs and also the success of procedures and processes. LogicMonitor marries granular support for big data platforms like Hadoop with a robust AIOps engine to analyze any metrics which are fed into the platform. Using bespoke monitoring templates, any medical equipment can be monitored and the metric data analyzed. 

LogicMonitor’s AIOps features intelligently detect service-impacting signals from noise, make signals more actionable, and reduce the flurry of false alerts that keep teams up at night. With alert escalation chains, users can ensure the right team members are informed via SMS, email, chat, or ITSM integrations. LogicMonitor’s AIOps capabilities enable teams to identify the root cause of an outage and put an end to alert storms with built-in dynamic thresholds and root cause analysis.

Contextual insight: AIOps driven forecasting and anomaly detection

Extensive Breadth of Coverage Across On-Premises Into Cloud and Containers

LogicMonitor has extensive coverage across the enterprise IT landscape and into the cloud with monitoring templates for everything from SD-WAN to containers. Often, organizations are used to data silos and need their own specialist tools to monitor their specific technologies. LogicMonitor breaks down these silos by allowing every team to troubleshoot their problems in the same way with granular performance data for all types of infrastructure.

Different integrations LogicMonitor provides out of the box, including Cisco and many others

Secure by Design

LogicMonitor’s platform is highly secure. The following are just some of the ways that LogicMonitor ensures the security of users and the platform itself.

Secure Architecture 

  • RBAC, 2FA.
  • Encryption of data in transit and at rest.

Secure Data Collection

  • Only outbound communication is allowed from LM Collector.
  • Data encrypted with TLS.
  • LM Collectors are securely locked to your environment.

Secure Operations 

  • Collectors based on hardened Linux with perimeter and host-based IPS.
  • Operated out of top-tier DCs and AWS regions.
  • All with top security measures in place.

Secure Practices

  • Minimal personal data stored.
  • Device access credentials stored in memory and never written to disk.
  • Salted one-way hashes used in place of user passwords.

Secure Standards

  • Constant penetration testing ensures maximum security.
  • SOC2 validates our controls for security.
  • High availability and confidentiality.

In addition to LogicMonitor’s native platform, by leveraging a secure proxy, user operations teams will retain complete control of communications. This allows users to lock down traffic out of their networks to minimize exposure to external bad actors.

One Platform for Unified Observability – Metrics, Logs, Traces, and Powerful AIOps Capabilities

Metrics – The most comprehensive monitoring platform with coverage for >2500 different technologies spanning network, cloud, containers, and applications.

Logs – Eliminate context switching between IT infrastructure monitoring and log analysis products by correlating relevant logs with metrics in a single platform with out-of-the-box integrations (or via any custom log source).

Traces – Never miss an application error, improve code quality, and diagnose and fix issues faster. Gain insight into the performance of the entire app stack, from code to cloud, to ensure a flawless customer experience in agile environments.

Bupa Improves Healthcare Efficiency by Streamlining IT with LogicMonitor

A great example of a successful LogicMonitor healthcare customer is Bupa. A healthcare leader in EMEA and APAC, Bupa is committed to helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives. With 84,000 employees serving more than 31 million customers, the organization offers a broad range of services, including aged care and retirement, dental, optical, health insurance, and more. LogicMonitor helped Bupa to consolidate their monitoring tooling at speed and at scale, deploying to more than 500 devices in 30 minutes.  Luke Williams, Head of Service Management, explained that “LogicMonitor was the best fit for what we were trying to achieve. It was the only solution that enabled us to not only consolidate but also reduce costs”.

LogicMonitor’s tight integration with ServiceNow allows Bupa to deal with outages more quickly and efficiently. Dennis Huynh the Reporting and Monitoring Manager said, “With LogicMonitor, we have been able to successfully integrate and automate a lot of the incident creation and flag issues faster. The teams are now able to respond correctly, using the better processes, instead of spending time manually creating incidents.” Read the full Bupa case study here. 

Whilst the pandemic has placed an unbelievable strain on healthcare professionals, I have been truly amazed at how they have not only managed to deal with extraordinary circumstances, but also embrace technology and innovation to advance how we treat patients and how we deal with new threats and challenges to human health. The next ten years will see some unbelievable fundamental changes to the way patients are cared for and how diseases are treated and managed. The future looks bright. 

Adam Nash

Director, Channel Sales

Adam Nash is an employee at LogicMonitor.

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