Looking at today’s healthcare landscape, we see an industry which is on the crossroads of change largely catalyzed by the rapid expanse of healthcare technologies. From ensuring strict compliance to evolving regulations, to ensuring provision of secure and quick access to patient information, the medical sector is juggling more pins than it previously did.

Apart from the administrative and regulatory challenges, the Ponemon Institute, a Michigan-based independent research firm that works with Fortune 500 technology companies to analyze data protection and privacy, highlighted a growing number of challenges to healthcare data security in its 4th Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy and Data Security. Healthcare entities need to address these challenges if they are to manage oceanic amounts of data while ensuring compliance to regulation.

For an environment burdened with the piling of synchronous and complex tasks, often which involve human lives, a solution such as VDI that can optimally streamline things through the power of virtualization is a must-have for a lot of strategic reasons.

“VDI: the Unified Answer to Operational, Administrative & Financial Challenges in Healthcare”

With the rise in usage and popularity of electronic medical records systems such as Epic & Cerner in recent years, medical professionals have become a lot more acquainted with, and reliant on technology. The increased technical fluency has contributed to the growth of Healthcare application virtualization, which in turn enables healthcare professionals to access critical data on the move.

However, healthcare’s present technology transition is not without its challenges, cost-control being one of the prime ones. Hospital campuses are dynamic sites spread across enormous distances. Even a single medical office requires medical practitioners to constantly move from one patient examination room to the other.

In this type of an environment, the need arises for staff to have access to patient information via a multitude of devices but with the guarantee of consistent user experience. The trick lies in reducing the administrative cost of managing the whole operation via a strategic technology platform such as VDI. With virtual desktop infrastructure, caregivers can navigate seamlessly through patient wards as well as applications and be in a much better position when it comes to making information-driven patient decisions.

The fact that VDI removes the need to have separate hardware in every single location of the medical facility is the first benefit from a cost-cutting perspective. The virtual desktop follows the professional everywhere across the facility, and can be accessed instantly via a single sign-on login. Since the data management is done in a centralized location, doctors have faster access to data and ultimately more time to focus on patients and the actual provision of healthcare services. The advantages of virtualization towards fulfilling the intrinsic purpose of healthcare, patient well-being are undeniable.

Benefits Of Healthcare Virtualization

VDI Equals Mobility to the Staff

The rise of mobile devices has made the emergence of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement inevitable. Healthcare users are not only calling for ubiquitous access to apps that concern their work, but also the freedom to choose a device that synergizes between their operational requirements and personal comfort zones. The majority of the population now sports some type of a high-performance mobile device in their pockets, and with the passage of time these devices are only improving in terms of computation ability. Since the velocity of technology-churn in the consumer sector typically outpaces that of the business sector, it makes logical sense to let employees use devices they are accustomed to.

As the healthcare sector experiences its share of the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) revolution, VDI complements this transition by enabling device-independence but keeping data security consistent across the user-base.

While mobile access indubitably allows healthcare professionals for a more versatile approach to in-patient care and other mission-critical tasks, it is equally important to keep the rising data security compliance in perspective while the adoption of mobile devices grows. VDI means that you don’t have to worry about taking extra measures as you transition towards a mobile enterprise.

Addressing Healthcare’s New Data Security & Compliance Landscape through Virtualization

The rapid rise of the BYOD revolution along with the expanse of health-related mobile applications, and the emergence in recent months of health insurance marketplaces – largely catalyzed by the Affordable Care Act – all have significantly crafted a new landscape for healthcare privacy and data security landscape. The electronic ecosystem continues to grow and pose fresh security challenges, and the risks are indeed quite high, given the fact that healthcare providers that are subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) can incur staggering fines of up to $1.5 million per year per violation.

Virtual Desktops In Healthcare: Tapping New Intuition to Save Lives

This type of regulatory terrain definitely rings up the old adage of it being better to be safe rather than sorry. As a result, technology enablers, partners, consultants, and all other stakeholders are
actively joining forces with healthcare customers to thoroughly scan their environments and close any security gaps that could lead to regulatory compliance failure. The primary reason behind this crusade is a recent amendment in the final HIPAA omnibus rule: the burden of compliance, as well as liability to civil penalties, is not just the domain of hospitals but also of business associates that work with them and health plans.

More Watch & More Watchdogs

While on one hand the actual rules are being tightened, more eyes are tuning in on the enforcement of regulations and keeping guard for offenses. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has been the major player on the healthcare data breach field, but since the domain overlaps with that of general consumer data protection, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also filed recent complaints against healthcare sector entities that are managing personal data but are not too diligent about protecting it.

How the Affordable Care Act & Insurance Exchanges Pose a Security Challenge

Challenges TO VDI healthcare

The launch of state and federal marketplaces under the ACA has consumers and other parties utilizing online systems to apply for insurance and benefits. The actual process entails online access to critical verification sources such as the Department of Homeland Security, Social Security Administration, and even IRS data. In majority of cases, the application procedure may also warrant employment and income information. Put all this together and it’s pretty much the most important personal information all in one place, and vulnerable to a range of sophisticated threats on these online systems.

Looking For Healthcare Virtualization Solutions? Than Download VDIworks Healthcare Virtualization Brief

VDI Keeps Your Healthcare Data Safe & Regulators Happy

Healthcare Desktop Virtualization protects critical data by having it in the data center instead of residing in the end-point device, vulnerable to a multitude of threats, including the actual loss of the device. The data is delivered to the end-user during virtual sessions and that allows IT to centrally manage security policies. Hence, the risks associated with protecting patient data, even as it travels across mobile devices, are significantly and instantly mitigated. Furthermore, when you have all your data in one place, it becomes a lot easier to analyze it and identify areas that mandate regulatory compliance by acts such as HIPAA.

VDIworks’ VDI for the Healthcare Industry

While virtual desktop infrastructure is the perfect answer to achieving your healthcare technology goals, choosing the right solution that fulfills all your strategic needs without having to put a strain on your budget can be a daunting task. Enter VDIworks into the equation and you have all the VDI you need at a half the cost of other solutions such as VMware Horizon View.

VDIworks’ Virtual Desktop Platform (VDP) is an end-to-end holistic VDI management suite that provides the type of seamless end-user computing experience which makes things easier for busy healthcare practitioners. The solution also allows administrators to reduce time spent managing desktops deployed throughout large hospitals and campus clinics, single facility hospitals and clinics, multi-location practices, as well as satellite and affiliate clinics. Further, it completely removes the cost and complexity that arises from maintaining multiple applications across a plethora of workstations.

VDP is Hypervisor-Agnostic, which means that it strategically removes vendor-lock. With follow me functionality, device-based and user-based mappings, the VDIworks connection broker delivers desktop and apps on an as-and-where needed basis, with complete device independence: use anything from Chromebooks, iPads, Windows tablets, smart phones and more.

Importantly, VDP was designed keeping in view the need for organizations to save on the unnecessary cost of multiple licenses by integrating everything in one suite: connection brokering, remoting protocols, VM management, health, alerting, inventory, physical management, network loads and much more.

Bearing in mind the critical nature of healthcare data, VDIworks endpoint security features prevent users from walking away with such data. The actual data center that allows for secure and seamlessly centralized management and administration itself is augmented by multiple layers of protection.

As of OCT 1st, the medical coding rules will also be changing. Which means that they will go from a list of 14,000 codes to 69,000 codes. This is primarily only possible with the advent of the EMR and the digitization of medical record keeping procedures. All the more reason to have better computing and access capabilities in the medical field.