The Easy Win Strategy

The Easy Win Strategy

With new regulations, requirements, and changes incessantly complicating the healthcare IT environment, clinicians can easily get caught up. As an IT leader, there's a deep-rooted risk in asking clinicians to leap through more hoops so as to satisfy another federal initiative, like Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE). 

At Kootenai Health, our strategy before CPOE go-live was to proactively implement time-saving technologies that might offset the new demands: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Single check in (VDI and SSO).

In some ways, this was a clean win. VDI and SSO allow doctors to quickly “tap” in and out of workstations with a swipe of their encoded badge. For every clinical user, VDI/SSO is estimated to save lots of five hours per month related to loading and login time. It didn’t take long in the least for users at Kootenai Health to ascertain that new methods and technologies could support their natural workflows and ultimately save them time.

In the first month alone, VDI and SSO automated quite 250,000 application logins at Kootenai Health. This resulted in significant time savings, allowing the clinicians to spend longer that specialize in their top priority: patient care. Estimated productivity savings for the primary year after implementation were approximately $1.5M and ongoing annualized savings are approximately $1.8M.

VDI and SSO add up on all levels. Not only does this technology support the fluid clinical experience, it also results in significant productivity savings, enhanced security, space efficiency, hardware savings, efficient desktop management, and simplified back-end support.

From a security standpoint, the results of our VDI/ SSO implementation are completely positive. In traditional, distributed computing situations, clinicians sometimes use generic login credentials, leave stations logged in unattended, or forget sensitive papers on the printer. 

"As an IT leader, there's inherent risk in asking clinicians to leap through more hoops so as to satisfy another federal initiative, like Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE)"

Any of those actions can cause a critical security breach. VDI and SSO completely eliminated the utilization of generic login credentials, and our “tap and release” functionality also eliminated the insecure printing of sensitive patient information. Generic logins can't be utilized in our VDI/SSO environment, and sensitive patient information can't be printed until the users physically tap their badge on the printer.

In clinical areas, space may be a highly valued commodity. VDI workstations are significantly smaller than traditional desktop or laptop computers, and as we also installed wall-mounted articulating arms for several of the VDI workstations, space within the clinical areas is now getting used far more efficiently. Ultimately, this reduces the danger of tripping hazards and other patient questions of safety.

Hardware replacement savings with VDI and SSO also are considerable. The VDI “Zero Client” units themselves are less costly than traditional desktop computers and have a lifespan that's two to 3 times longer. Over the future, we anticipate hardware costs that are 75 percent less than within the traditional desktop environment.

The centralization of Kootenai Health’s computing environment through VDI has greatly improved the simplicity of desktop management for our IT technicians. Replacing a personal computer is now as simple as plugging during a new Zero Client, pressing the facility button, and naming the device. From start to end , this takes a mean of 20 minutes, compared to the typical of three hours it takes to line up a standard desktop or laptop pc .

The hardware is additionally simpler for desktop technicians to troubleshoot and maintain as there's no resident OS, no updating of software device by device, and fewer points of failure. Instead of sending desktop technicians to manually update individual computers, updates are now pushed call at large batches simultaneously, remotely, and automatically. This enables support staff to redirect their skills more appropriately and efficiently.

Kootenai Health’s back-end VDI/SSO environment was designed with simplicity, maintainability and scalability in mind. To supply a dependable backbone for the environment, we invested many dollars in three critical areas: network, server, and storage infrastructure. Our advanced architecture uses only one VDI image during a fully redundant environment that's tied into Active Directory. Just one support person is required to take care of the system, whereas other VDI/SSO environments for similarly sized organizations require a minimum of three.

The overall solution includes always-on architecture with two independent active/active data centers, which ensures consistent performance and fail-over capability, while allowing seamless testing during a lab environment that completely mirrors production. For extra fail-over capability, we also built a “red-screen” environment so clinicians would be ready to access critical applications even within the event that both VDI environments went down.

In summary, VDI and SSO drastically simplified the computing environment for clinicians, also as for the IT support staff. Kootenai Health’s successful implementation of CPOE and other initiatives are often partly attributed to our preemptive rollout of VDI/SSO technology.

Read Also

A Time for Transformational Leadership

John O Keefe, VP & CIO, Lafayette College

When the "Obvious" Slaps You in the Face!

Ryan King, CIO, Power Solutions International

Is That a Robot in My Factory?

Jim McCoy, CIO, Raytheon

Brokering the Cloud Services

Eric Boyette, Secretary & State CIO, Information Technology