VMware Horizon

Can Virtual Desktop Solutions Improve Patient Satisfaction for Healthcare?

By Tisa Murdock, Product Line Manager, VMware View – Healthcare
Follow Tisa and the VMware Healthcare team on Twitter @VMwareHIT or on the VMware Healthcare Blog

For caregivers in the healthcare industry, virtual desktop solutions hold the promise of ubiquitous and reliable access to patient care applications and data regardless of device or location… But what about benefits for the patient?

Recently I participated in a seminar for the healthcare industry titled “Accelerating EMR Adoption using VDI”. At the event Ryan Winn, CIO from MidMichigan Health was asked to speak to the attendees about lessons learned from deploying 900 virtual desktops at MidMichigan using VMware View, EMC storage, Imprivata OneSign and HP Thin Client Terminals. Ryan started out explaining the workflow benefits gained for the clinicians – which was completely expected.

In healthcare you can trim down the login times for clinicians significantly by moving from a traditional physical clinical desktop environment to a virtual desktop environment with single sign on for point of care. Nurses and doctors sometimes login to a clinical desktop 50 or 60 times a day so if you reduce the login time from one or two minutes down to a few seconds – it has a profound effect. 

At MidMichigan caregivers simply tap their ID Badge against a USB attached card reader on any terminal and they are immediately logged into to their point of care desktop and pre-authenticated to all their patient care applications. The result is more time spent with the patients and less time logging into desktops. MidMichigan uses Cerner for their primary EMR (Electronic Medical Records) software but this same solution is available using other EMR applications. 

Take a look at the cool robot they built to test the passive proximity cards and card readers they use for their VMware View with Imprivata single sign on solution.


MidMichigan is at the forefront of the VDI adoption curve for healthcare and are technology innovators. This helps them recruit new talent to their hospital. The healthcare industry is very competitive so attracting and retaining the best and brightest physicians and nurses is a constant and expensive struggle for healthcare organizations. More and more, clinicians entering the workforce are demanding a consumer-like user experience where they can use different devices such as Apple iPad at bedside in the hospital and physicians want to finish charting patients at home using their own PC so they have a better work life balance.   Virtualizing clinical desktops using VMware View ties a desktop to the caregiver’s identity. Desktops and apps are delivered as a service from the private cloud making it easy to accommodate devices and provide remote access without compromising security.

One unexpected outcome of the new point of care solution at MidMichigan Health was improved patient satisfaction.  Winn said he was a little surprised with the results.  He fully expected the improvements to clinician workflow but patient satisfaction?

As it turns out, patients felt they were receiving better care for two reasons:

  1. Knowing that MidMichigan was using the latest technology makes patients feel like they are getting state of the art care – which they are and
  2. Caregivers spend more time with patients in the patient’s room using the thin client terminals to enter information through virtual desktops. 

When we drilled down on this, Winn explained that even though the caregiver may have their back turned to the patient, the caregiver explained what they were doing and why – using technology to enter information in real-time about their care. 

As healthcare goes through one of the fastest transformations of any major industry in the history of the US – the move to a paperless environment and adoption of electronic medical records within a period of a few years– it is great to know that the patient is the real winner in this transformation.