Many healthcare systems are in critical condition, straddled with aging IT, demanding regulatory requirements, challenging finances and complex delivery models. Meeting patient and provider expectations in this environment can be daunting. Fortunately, technology innovations provide today’s IT teams with an array of solutions that can help ease the pain of health system transformation and achieve the vision of information-driven healthcare.
Enhancing compliance and care with highly available IT
Green Clinic, which has been providing medical services for families in Louisiana since 1948, has more than 50 physicians providing a full range of ancillary health services – such as diagnostic radiology and cardiac imaging – in addition to clinical procedures at its surgical hospital. The group recently modernized with two electronic medical records (EMR) systems, cloud-based virtual desktops and centralized management and support.
As a result, patients receive better care as nurses have continuous access to IT, clinical staff is no longer tied to fixed workstations, and doctors can securely access electronic records from the clinic, from home or on the move. This flexibility allows care providers to work productively from anywhere and provide a better service experience for patients. By streamlining compliance with HIPAA regulations for systems management and data protection, Green Clinic has further protected its patients’ privacy and also reduced financial risks of regulator fines. And the IT department saves 20 hours a week on desktop management, freeing time to enhance patient-facing services.
Nonprofit hospital improves patient care and saves money
Further west, Daughters of Charity Health System (DCHS), established in California just after the Gold Rush, provides medical care to all, with a focus on the underprivileged. Delivering high-quality services requires DCHS to simplify processes and minimize costs wherever possible, allowing it to focus resources on patient care.
Prior to its modernization effort, clinicians recorded patient information and medical records in paper charts. Digital information was captured in many different applications used for diagnostic tests and workflow in departments such as pharmacy, finance and imaging. This mix of systems and processes made access to information cumbersome and time-consuming – and created a security risk. Often, healthcare providers had to physically walk to a different location to access information critical to patient care.
DCHS chose to deploy an EMR system, as well as virtual desktops, single sign-on for applications and the flexibility of bring-your-own-device (BYOD). And it’s all delivered through the cloud. The new system allows employees to tap their badge on a scanner and within 10 seconds access their virtual desktop anywhere in the hospital – and it appears just as it did when they left their previous location.
Simplified management and delivery frees resources
In the examples above, hundreds of physical desktops were replaced by dozens of virtualized desktops – saving time and money and boosting accessibility and control. Delivery of new applications, software updates and audit reports are now managed by IT staff through a central console, as required by HIPAA and HITECH. Systems were secured through advanced encryption and firewalls. And by moving traditional IT infrastructure to the cloud, savings from hardware, power consumption and cooling, and floor-space costs have exceeded a million dollars.
As society struggles to control healthcare costs and optimize patient outcomes, modernizing healthcare IT has proven it can be a boon for health systems, care providers and the patients they serve.Tags: Cloud,Healthcare,Technology,Virtualization