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Sep 1 2011   12:13PM GMT

What a difference a year makes: Onsite at VM World 2011

Posted by: Jenny Laurello
Cloud computing, Data servers, PHI, virtualization, VM World, VM World 2011

Guest post by: Ed Gaudet, Chief Marketing Officer, Imprivata

We are more than halfway through VMworld 2011 and it is abundantly clear that health care is beginning to embrace desktop virtualization at a fast clip.  Despite hurricane Irene’s impact on the east coast, nearly 1,000 health care IT professionals have turned out to hear about the progress VMware and its partners are making in the industry, share experiences and,yes,showcase their success with roaming point of care desktops.  

While at last year’s conference a handful of brave health care providers discussed plans to implement technologies that promised to save their physicians clicks and provide convenient access to PHI, this year I have already spoken with over 40 health care providers who have successfully deployed virtual desktops with fast access and “follow me” roaming capabilities.  In addition, I have sat through several sessions where health care leaders such as Johns Hopkins, MedCentral Health System, Metro Health, MidMichigan Health and WakeMed Health and Hospitals have described their one touch roaming deployments and the productivity increases for their physicians and nurses. 

Virtualization is enabling health care IT to provide clinicians with faster access to patient information so they, in turn, can make the right decisions and deliver a higher quality of care.

The fact that the health care industry is quick to appreciate the power of virtualized desktops should come as no surprise when, after all, we are entering the “post PC era” with the premise of “user-based” computing where people are no longer tethered to their desktops, and information is delivered on any device, anywhere.  Is health care positioned to benefit from this shift, where highly-mobile caregivers access data at shared workstations, PCs, thin and zero clients?  While virtualization is positioned as an IT cost savings method in most industries, health care is more interested in delivering convenience and value directly to physicians.  Anything that makes CPOE easier and gives doctors more time with their patients is beneficial- and virtualized desktops are winning them over.

Another major change since last year’s conference is the level of maturity of virtual desktops in health care. VMware has recently unveiled its “AlwaysOn Point of Care” solution, technology that enables the follow-me clinician desktop experience and includes efficiencies such as tap and go secure access through our product, Imprivata OneSign.  This solution, codified in a reference architecture, delivers non-stop service availability with secure and auditable access to PHI.

Since VMworld 2010, an exciting phenomenon has taken place among vendors that are collaborating to support the specific workflow and security requirements of health care organizations.  At this year’s conference, LG, Samsung and Wyse are running Teradici zero clients, and one touch point of care roaming desktops are being demonstrated by Dell, Imprivata, Samsung, Teradici and VCE.  Is this becoming the new industry standard in health care?

While hospitals are showing a great deal of interest in the cloud at VMworld 2011, with Johns Hopkins leading the pack, the conference tag line, “It’s your cloud. Own it,” may be a bit aggressive for the health care market as a whole just yet.  Though most health care providers that I have spoken with clearly understand the promise, and are preparing for applications to run in the cloud. Other priorities such as meaningful use are monopolizing their time and attention at the moment; it is looking like true cloud computing may still be a few years out for them.

It is great to see the promises of last year come true at VMworld 2011.  The show of force from the health care industry is proof that VDI is truly changing the way caregivers access the data they need.  It is all about the clinicians. My prediction: health care IT will lead the way to virtualized desktops in 80% of acute care hospitals by VMworld 2013.

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