IT plays a critical role in the healthcare industry. With several polyclinics supported by UZ Brussel’s IT, ensuring top-notch security and managing operations is no easy task. “As the supporting IT service for infrastructure and operations, we are responsible for the proper functioning of networking, system management, database management and cybersecurity,” explains Robin Demesmaeker, Manager of ICT Infrastructure at UZ Brussel. “In addition, there is also a DevOps team that has developed its own Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system and shares it in partnership with other hospitals, whether or not hosted in UZ Brussel’s data center.”
One of the major trends in healthcare is the far-reaching digital transformation. UZ Brussel also sees a number of major challenges in the coming years. For example, there is the increasing demand for automation.
“Within nursing, we are at the tipping point to relieve people from administration as much as possible. Devices like blood pressure monitors could automatically link the values to the EPR. At present, nurses still have to add them manually,” says Demesmaeker.
He expects that the arrival of 5G networks will also lead to an evolution in the monitoring of patients at home (for example, of diabetics, cardio data or sleep tests). Other trends that create challenges are cloud services and the exponential growth of internet of things (IoT) sensors in the medical world. The tension between userfriendliness and the strictness of the policy is also a challenge for UZ Brussel. All of which also have implications for IT security and privacy.
“Central to this for me is the protection of the identity of the healthcare provider,” clarifies Demesmaeker. “Because of their position, they can access certain sensitive data and perform specific actions. So if their identity is not well protected, any rogue person can misuse this data. Especially if you use more cloud services and therefore no longer keep everything within the walls of the hospital, this becomes even more crucial. Like knowing where and how the identity is being used, which you then also have to log.”