Is VDI the Next Trend for Healthcare Industry?

By CIOReview | Tuesday, March 21, 2017
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In Healthcare, control and compliance have become more vital as the industry has moved rapidly from paper-based to electronic records leading to a rising need of remotely accessing health records. Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is one such invention that addresses the demand for quick access of information and support increased service levels with fewer resources, all in minimum expenses.

How much VDI fits into Healthcare system?

Obviously, easy and quick access to data enhances workflow and increases productivity. However, that is not the only reason why VDI is taking the center stage in the healthcare sector. VDI carves out a place for itself in healthcare IT infrastructure most importantly because it gives end-users constant access to electronic health data via the cloud—the first step of mobilizing a healthcare workplace. It saves substantial time and eases the information retrieval processes for healthcare staffs, which enables them to provide more personalized care by accessing patient’s accurate records while on the phone, bedside, or in exam rooms. Another factor that is on the top of the list of concerns regarding healthcare information is ‘security’, and VDI has it all covered.

Besides that, VDI implementation eliminates the need to purchase new hardware and reduces the administrative costs for the maintenance of central desktop. With the constant improvements in hardware and software for VDI products and acceptance of modern corporate culture, VDI has a lot to offer for a mobile lifestyle. Increased security, ease of maintenance, mobility, and virtual environment search are all segments of the VDI offering.

Today, more and more organizations rely on digital health records, implying that there are still many healthcare VDI implementations to come. A VDI installation can enable health IT departments to manage desktop virtualization and application hosting, under one umbrella. Below are the reasons listed why VDI may take credit for exclusive mobility achieved by Healthcare industry in the future:

1. Hyper-converged infrastructures – Traditionally, VDI deployment required a segregation of servers, storage, and networking. That sort of three-tier infrastructure brought management complexities for IT departments.

Hyper-converged infrastructure is a software-centric architecture that integrates storage, networking and virtualization resources from scratch. In that environment, VDI rose as a popular implementation because of its ease of deployment in the unified platform.

2. Bundled VDI – Due to the success of hyper-converged products in the market, software providers are building software on top of generic hardware and offering a full VDI product. Many leading vendors, such as Dell, Cisco, Nexenta Systems, Citrix Systems, and Nutanix, have assembled "VDI in a box" products that offer scalability and ease of management to users.

3. Better licensing options – Microsoft, first time ever, allowed Windows licenses to be assigned to the user instead of the device. It has unified different licenses for its VDI products to offer a user licensing option that includes a few key products used by most hospitals and other large health organizations.

Besides providing a measurable relief to potential VDI buyers in terms of selecting between different licensing model, software bundles have also gone more cost-effective than traditional VDI pricing models.

4. Enhanced hardware capabilities – There have been cases where users ask for more capabilities, or sometimes restricted to the use their physical desktop even for small purposes. After the VDI product implementation, they were able to run through VDI platforms and experience a much convenient way to perform a job—thanks to continuing VDI improvements.

5. Extended cloud technology and services - Though application virtualization is available with VDI, the flexibility of BYOD option for entire desktop and application needs have proved to be an extremely valuable move.

Today’s VDI product is equipped with scalability, which is a huge plus as it can help in provisioning virtual desktops and applications for more users. And, a large number of users mean that virtual desktops indeed require less processing and thus, less application management.

There are now more VDI options that offer a cost-effective and compliant way to empower users with more flexibility and aid IT teams, without sacrificing security.