Digitization is one of the biggest drivers of development for countries around the world. According to McKinsey's research, global digitalization is now seven years ahead of schedule due to the outbreak and persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has put enormous strain on the infrastructure, supply chains, and workforce of the global healthcare industry. According to Deloitte's report, the top priority of global healthcare in 2021 is digital transformation and data interconnection.
To accelerate the digital transformation of the healthcare industry, Huawei and China Telecom Anhui have expended immense effort innovating upon cloud-network solutions. A survey on the healthcare industry within Anhui province shows that hospitals have basically accepted cloud computing and its applications, and agreed that the future will entail a combination of public cloud and private cloud. All service systems — irrespective of information systems (such as Internet hospitals, video surveillance, OA system, remote diagnosis and treatment, picture archiving and communication system (PACS), and HIS/LIS), and scientific research/clinical data — are being moved gradually from the hospital area to the cloud. However, hospital customers encounter several pain points during their migration to the cloud:
Pain point 1: Complex connections lead to difficult O&M. Hospitals require many external connections (such as to integrated healthcare organizations, management organizations, and banks). For example, a county-level hospital requires nine private lines. Previously, it needed to apply for nine CPEs, one for each private line. This slowed down service provisioning and made network connections complex. If networks outside the hospital encounter a fault, it is difficult to troubleshoot.
Pain point 2: It is difficult to deliver an adequate service experience. Cloud services are carried by operator networks instead of internal networks. So it is uncertain whether the network quality is controllable and whether the bandwidth and latency can meet service requirements.
Pain point 3: Network reliability is difficult to ensure. In particular, if a link from the hospital to the operator network fails, it is unknown whether services can be recovered quickly.
Pain point 4: Traffic detours across the network lead to high latency. Hospital service systems are distributed over the local industry cloud, and the operator's public cloud and private cloud. Due to the network architecture and security factors, interconnection between clouds involve detours. As a result, the latency can increase by 10-fold, impacting latency-sensitive services.
Based on customer pain points and service requirements, China Telecom Anhui uses Huawei's intelligent-cloud network solution to further improve its cloud-network capabilities, in order to meet the hospital's digital service requirements. The solution features innovative technologies and has been proven in multiple healthcare industry projects by China Telecom Anhui.
Innovation 1: A Huawei CPE addresses complexities in existing connections, by providing multiple connections of its own. A Huawei CPE deployed at the access end replaces multiples private lines, such as cloud private lines and private lines to the National Health and Construction Commission, PACS, and medical insurance bureau. In this way, the number of access terminals is reduced, and the network is simplified. Based on the operator's cloud-network integrated operation platform, services can be subscribed to and provisioned in an e-commerce-like manner. In addition, the in-band flow measurement shows service SLAs in real time, helping operators quickly locate faults.
Innovation 2: Slice-based private networks ensure service experience. A medical service slice is deployed between Huawei CPE and the cloud to provide E2E hard pipe capabilities. In this way, a private line functions like a private network, ensuring that hospital cloud services are securely isolated from other services, meeting low-latency and secure cloudification requirements.
Innovation 3: FMC access ensures network reliability. The operator network provides E2E dual-link deployment, with an active wired link from the hospital to the operator network, and a 5G wireless link used as a standby link. This combination facilitates service switchover in milliseconds, ensuring high reliability of cloud services.
Innovation 4: A multi-cloud backbone helps operators avoid traffic detours with flexible interconnection between the industry cloud and the operator's public clouds and private clouds. In addition, disaster recovery of medical systems is provided from the industry cloud all the way to the operator's public cloud. Resources from multiple clouds are shared, and cloud security services are provided to meet the security requirements of the hospital's cloudified systems.
Huawei's intelligent cloud-network solution leverages key innovations in IPv6+ to provide "Five Ones" capabilities: one-hop cloud access, one-network wide connection, one-fiber multipurpose transport, one-click fast scheduling, and one-stop integrated security. These capabilities allow operators to provide DICT services that feature cloud-network coordination, flexible cloud-network connection, network as a service (NaaS), deterministic experience, and cloud-network-security collaboration. Ultimately, these capabilities act to comprehensively support the cloudification of healthcare services. To date, this solution has been put into practice in more than 20 healthcare projects, and has been recognized by a growing number of industry customers. Huawei's intelligent cloud-network solution will continue to help operators expand digital projects relating to healthcare, explore more business scenarios, and build a high-quality digital connection foundation to accelerate digital transformation of the healthcare industry.