Empowering the Digital Workspace: How Cerner Does It

Jan 8, 2018
Vernon Apperson


Vernon is a technology writer for VMware, specializing in customer storytelling.

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Healthcare information technology company Cerner has embraced digital workspaces across its 27,000 contracted facilities worldwide. The company focuses on the crossroads between healthcare and IT, building solutions that help improve clinical workflows and, ultimately, deliver better patient care.

“Healthcare is a great industry to be in,” said Josh Rodgers, director of business development for infrastructure at Cerner. “A number of things are changing very quickly. And at the end of the day, we’re really helping people. Whether it’s your grandfather, your daughter, your spouse in that patient room—that’s really personal. There’s a ton of opportunity to improve experiences through technology when someone checks in to a hospital.”

Increasing Patient Care, Decreasing Cost

For Cerner, technology brings together the goals of patient-centered care and reduced healthcare costs.

Through the Millennium® electronic health record (EHR) platform and other technologies, Cerner focuses on the continuum of care. The goal is to bring together EHR data from a rapidly expanding number of sensors and medical devices to capture a full picture of a patient’s health—from what they eat and how they exercise to the medications they take and the outcome of their last hospital visit.

Cerner constantly seeks ways to drive costs out of heathcare. “When our clients are executing around two- to three-percent margin rates, they really need to focus on cost,” Rodgers said. “IT is a cost center, but at the same time technology can create efficiencies to drive down those costs.”

Partnership for Digital Workspaces

Cerner’s relationship with VMware helps the company meet these patient care and cost goals. Cerner uses VMware Workspace ONE, powered by VMware AirWatch unified endpoint management technology, and VMware Horizon in digital workspace solutions. The company integrates these technologies into solutions such as Cerner Instant Access™ to create a location-aware, single sign-on (SSO) solution.

Rodgers cited SSO with Horizon, part of Instant Access, as a tremendous help for clinicians. In this context, SSO enables a medical professional to “tap in” with their badge to log in to different supported devices in a clinical setting. This improved workflow can save time and help clinicians keep their “clinical train of thought” on patient care, not on logging in. Instead of typing credentials over and over again, clinicians enter their password once at the beginning of the day. Then they simply tap their badges to pick up where they left off, no matter the machine or location.

“Let’s say that before SSO, it took 40 seconds to log in. Add to that a number of clicks to get to the same interface they had before. We can automate a lot of that, take it from 40 seconds to 5 seconds, and multiply that by 100 clinicians on the floor that day, times 365 days—that’s a huge, huge cost savings.”
—Josh Rodgers, Director of Business Development for Infrastructure, Cerner

Clinicians want ease of use, said Rodgers, regardless of the device they’re working from, be that a laptop, tablet or workstation. “They want that single pane of glass, that look and feel to be the same,” he continued. “As soon as it changes, it impacts their ability to do their job, to make decisions that affect a patient’s life. Workspace ONE provides that single pane of glass on multiple devices across multiple platforms, to push out applications quickly and easily.”

Workspace ONE and Instant Access work together to provide a seamless experience for clinicians. “That’s huge for our end users,” said Rodgers.

Hyper-converged infrastructure with VCE VxRail that includes VMware vSAN and Horizon, according to Rodgers, “continues to push the message that virtualizing applications makes it easier to deploy and maintain those applications.” Rodgers continued, “Hyper-convergence allows us to deploy solutions quickly for our clients while maintaining a more utility-based, predictable cost model.”

Along with its own EHR software, Cerner hosts AirWatch within its VMware NSX-secured, award-winning, HIPAA-certified data center. Rodgers said Cerner hosts its own AirWatch instance: “We have over 40 mobile solutions. We need a way to deploy those solutions to clients’ sites easily. We leverage AirWatch and the power of its mobile device management and application deployment. When our clients choose Cerner and use one of our mobile applications, they know they’re getting a turnkey solution. It’s a huge value add.”

“When you put together Horizon VDI, Workspace ONE, AirWatch and our BYOD program, you see a lot of streamlining,” he continued. “Not just from a technology investment perspective, but how it positively affects clinical workflows. Our relationship with VMware is very strong.”

“For mobility and clinical workflows, VMware’s goals and technology offerings align with ours. When we look at Workspace ONE and that ease of use, that single pane of glass, those core values are important to us.”
—Josh Rodgers, Director of Business Development for Infrastructure, Cerner


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