VMware AlwaysOn Point of Care™ solution gives Danish providers more time to care for patients

In the mid-2000s, the Danish healthcare system was facing a nationwide problem that cried out for government action. In short, the condition of the country's health IT system had reached a point where it was having a negative impact on the quality of care being delivered.

At issue was the amount of time providers had to spend gaining access to necessary applications and data, as well as the amount of time IT departments were spending addressing the needs of individual clinical workers.

When the Danish government passed legislation mandating that healthcare providers find a solution, one region, Region Hovedstaden (Region H), decided the time had come to implement a system-wide virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution that would both provide a common desktop to all providers working within the system and dramatically shorten the time clinical workers had to wait when they logged in to that system.

After an extended search period during which Region H administrator's assessed several possible solutions, they chose the VMware AlwaysOn Point of Care™ solution, based on VMware Horizon View.

In reviewing the experience of the Danish stakeholders, it's important to note that part of their process involved breaking the project down into three assessment components. First, there needed to be a business driver forcing the change, and that revolved primarily around the fact that Region H clinicians were spending an average of 45 minutes each day waiting to log in to a desktop.

The business case for change, then, revolved around the fact that moving to a VDI would cut that time while also rendering more efficient the IT services needed to set up and maintain the system.

Finally, the business benefits, naturally, involved the added time providers would be able to spend with patients, as well as the labor cost savings for IT services and the additional time available to dedicate to other critical IT projects.

Region H chose the VMware AlwaysOn Point of Care™ solution in late 2010, and within two years after launching the design and implementation project the system was able to bring all 25,000 users into the production environment, with support for up to 8,000 concurrent users. 

Moreover, the core project goals have been met, as clinical workers now save substantial time on a daily basis, with logins shortened from 45 minutes to 3 to 5 minutes. At the same time, users experience improved productivity, as they are now able to transfer an open work session among different terminals.

As with any project, there are lessons that other providers can take away from the Danish project as they consider their own. For example, any implementation project needs to involve significant user education concerning the benefits of VDI and how to use it.

On a technical level, system administrators need to ensure that their infrastructure will support VDI, specifically in the categories of networking and storage.

Finally, it's important to recognize, and be prepared for, the organizational changes that will need to take place during the implementation in order to make it as effective as possible in the long term.

With an implementation project as complex as moving from many desktops to one, there are bound to be numerous challenges.  But the experience of Denmark's Region H demonstrates that with VMware AlwaysOn Point of Care™ solution, those challenges can ultimately be overcome.