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Virtual desktop environment prompted by physicians

The wants of physicians, combined with technological and security benefits, are boosting virtual desktop infrastructures. ROI may be a tougher avenue to pursue, however.

Back when I started covering healthcare issues and regulations as a young reporter in, ahem, 1998, the general word was that physicians had the ultimate say in what happened. They brought in the patients, prestige and prize money, so docs called the shots.

In some ways, things aren't all that different today with the move towards a virtual desktop environment. Sure, the technology is convenient, but in the end, physicians say they need it, driven largely by their use of mobile devices.

The virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) situation makes sense. If clinicians can go into any patient room and log on to a familiar desktop with the apps and screens they're used to, exams go quicker. It's no different than logging on as a guest on someone else's laptop versus signing into to your own machine.

Virtual desktop environment gains ground

If CIOs have trouble selling the ROI of desktop virtualization, it may help to bring the physicians into the room.

In SearchHealthIT's new handbook, Virtualization in Healthcare Organizations Streamlines IT Management, we examine VDI benefits in more detail. Contributor Reda Chouffani offers five reasons why desktop virtualization's popularity will increase, such as offering a way to implement hyper-converged appliances.

"Today's healthcare VDI products have a lot to offer as a result of some of the advancements in hardware and software made necessary because of the demands of the mobile workforce," Chouffani writes.

Next, I chime in with a story about the security behind virtual desktops and mention the two-pronged aspect of VDI. Yes, a virtual desktop environment aids doctors and nurses, but from a technology perspective, it boosts end-user satisfaction and while keeping patient information secure in hospital data centers.

ROI challenges desktop virtualization

Chouffani returns with a column that delves into problems that could, in turn, create hurdles for hospitals that want to invest in a virtual desktop environment.

Among the chief concerns: proving ROI for a VDI project. Failing to do so may sink an implementation if non-IT folks don't see the immediate benefits, Chouffani writes.

Ironically, from my point of view, if CIOs have trouble selling the ROI of desktop virtualization, it may help to bring the physicians into the room. With doctors behind the project, any ROI discussion could go a lot smoother.

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