Post authored by Drew Koerner, Chief Healthcare Solutions Architect
When I started at VMware in March of 2011, I was astounded by the company’s vision to redefine the IT world as we know it. VMware truly had great leadership, engineering, and technology – yet something was missing.
Delivering New Industry-specific Healthcare Solutions
I came to VMware from Poudre Valley Health System (PVHS) in Colorado where I was responsible for the organization’s desktops, infrastructure, security, and of course, VMware environment. PVHS was one of a few health systems to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. We took a great deal of pride in winning that award because it recognized what we called our World-Class Patient Care.
We measured World-Class Patient Care as being in the top 10 percent worldwide for different quality measures such as lowest number of falls, hospital-induced infections, and the like. Even though I was in the IT department, our CIO Russ Branzell made quality our mission.
As I transitioned into my new role on the VMware healthcare team and started working on delivering the next great VMware solution, I wanted to maintain that focus on World-Class Patient Care.
I began helping to develop our VMware vCloud for Healthcare solutions framework, which included VMware AlwaysOn Point of Care™. By allowing fast, secure access back to their applications, the solution gives time back to doctors and nurses—one of the greatest advantages in my book. I heard a nurse once say that their job she was becoming a “computer person” because of all of the electronic documentation they had to do. AlwaysOn Point of Care gives time back to doctors and nurses so that they can focus more on patient care.
VMware Care Systems Analytics – Helping Healthcare Organizations to Improve EMR Applications’ Availability and Performance
One of first challenges I saw when I settled in at VMware was that we had great products including virtualization, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and enterprise management, but none was explicitly designed to immediately help clinicians. A doctor or nurse is not concerned about right-sizing a virtual machine, but is severely impacted when a system goes down. My goal was to develop a VMware solution that would help me better answer a doctor or nurse who came to me asking, “Why is the system running slowly?”
VMware has a product that gives IT a great way to understand all of the infrastructure metrics—including network, CPU, storage, memory, and other aspects of the Software-Defined Data Center—for systems doctors and nurses regularly use. To me, this was only part of the solution they really needed. We also had to get the actual application metrics—the metrics from electronic medical records (EMRs), for example—to know the true health of applications and what the clinicians were experiencing.
Working closely with customers and EMR vendors, we’ve developed the newly available VMware Care Systems Analytics to identify, troubleshoot, and head off potential system problems before they cause disruption to hospital operations. At a glance, IT staff can see which workflows are running slowly, and if any operational parameters, such as the number of print jobs, are exceeding normal thresholds (which are automatically calculated by the solution).
It’s amazing to see how much IT and clinicians appreciate this visibility. A few of our beta hospitals have told me they plan to put point-of-care dashboards within each nursing unit to show exactly how their workflow values are performing in real time. If you’re in healthcare, I think you’re really going to like Care Systems Analytics.
I’m excited about the availability of Care Systems Analytics, but I think it is just a starting point—the first of many solutions that I hope to help VMware build for healthcare organizations. I believe IT has always been one layer removed from direct patient care but with more systems becoming electronic, IT has now become part of the patient-care contract. For the first time, solutions like Care Systems Analytics allow us to help clinicians provide better outcomes, which in the end, enable World-Class Patient Care.