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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Jul 7 2013   9:54PM GMT

Application virtualization and its impact on tablet adoption

Posted by: RedaChouffani
applicaiton, Virtualization

There is a constant demand for more storage and computing power to support the implementation and upgrading of hospital systems. This often requires the presence of virtualization. Server, desktop, and storage virtualization all attempt to maximize the use of specific hardware while reducing its physical presence.

Currently, there is more emphasis on implementing solutions that enable the delivery of line of business applications to any device at any time. This has driven IT to identify technologies and seek vendors that can solve this challenge and deliver interactive systems that are accessible from any interface.

Tablets are here to stay, though they are not the most-used devices within hospital facilities. Some of the reasons for their unpopularity are:

  • Lack of native support for critical business applications
  • Limited processing capabilities
  • Lack of native apps for commonly used applications within clinical and other departments
  • Security concerns
  • Hardware limitation and lack of integration with third party vendors

However, there are clearly reasons why consumers choose tablets over traditional PCs and laptops. The innovations of virtualization vendors are shrinking the list of reasons  that previously discouraged tablet adoption.

Application virtualization platforms offered by vendors such as Citrix, Microsoft and VMWare have provided their users with on-demand availability of Web-based applications, native windows applications (EHR, registration,  PACS, and others), and more. This allows these applications to be streamed and accessed from any device, (mobile phone, tablets and desktops) while still allowing users to use the touch and gestures functions available on many of today’s tablets.

Some of the benefits offered by today’s application virtualization products are:

BYOD: Smartphone or tablet platforms can be used to access virtual desktops or virtualized hospital applications from anywhere and anytime.

Consumerization of IT: In the past, giving end users administrative privileges on their desktops was a big faux pas. Users can have instant and secure access to all their applications due to the the self-service capabilities of the current virtualization applications.

Follow me: Users can simply be set up with a profile and list of applications they can access on any device, because many applications are hosted within a public or private cloud. They can start working on one product or application on one device, and connect to another and resume where they left off. This provides tremendous flexibility, as users do not need to spend time reconfiguring or downloading all their apps to every new device they pick up.

Improved security: Through centralized application management, data storage and maintenance, IT is able to have more control over content and ensure the separation between hospital data and personal BYOD data.

There are several other factors that are playing significant roles in increasing the usage of tablets and mobile devices in the enterprise. Products such as Microsoft App-V and Citrix Receiver are enabling this shift and transforming applications into centrally managed services without the need to install anything on the devices.

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