Rapid changes in the hospital and medical IT infrastructure means that hospitals and medical care providers will become major consumers of bandwidth in the coming decade, according to Akbar Kara, former Director of Network at NYP/ColumbiaU Med Center. Most medical/health records are becoming electronic, and hospitals are becoming highly electronic. Higher resolution devices generate between 250-1000 megabytes of data in imaging studies alone, ten times the total ten years ago.
According to Kara, the hospital lab instruments are churning out gigabytes of data every second, thus pushing demand for storage both local and remote. In order to easily access that information, medical establishment needs fat pipes. This is one of the main reasons why the IT budgets at hospitals have been going up more than 20% every year since 1997.
So what does a hospital have to do? Buy metro-Ethernet managed services, carrier managed SONET rings or buy dark fiber and built their own network. He favors the latter because it means hospitals can get a network with massive capacity with fixed operational costs. He worked on building and developing a network for NY Presbyterian Hospital complex, and saw the benefits. It is quite an interesting study, which is available here!