VITAS® Healthcare Leverages VMware and Partner Solutions to Support Mobile-Focused Hospice Care While Securing Patient Data

Nov 2, 2018
Vernon Apperson


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

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Mobility is critical to the daily operations of VITAS® Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care. With nearly 12,000 employees, VITAS cares for more than 17,000 patients across 91 locations in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

Because about 80 percent of their time is spent providing end-of-life hospice care in patients’ homes, VITAS employees might be summoned at a moment’s notice when a patient’s health suddenly declines.

“Being at the bedside of a loved one who is facing a life-limiting illness is probably one of the most difficult, emotional times any of us will face,” says Patrick Hale, executive vice president and chief information officer at VITAS, based in Miami. “Our job as the IT team for VITAS is to create technology that allows our clinicians to have the most effective interaction that they can possibly have with our patients and their families. That quest for a better patient experience is what led us down the path of mobility.”

VITAS has been developing its mobile strategy for three years. Almost 100 percent of patients are admitted to hospice care via a mobile device, all prescriptions are written and submitted on mobile devices, and clinicians can easily scan paper documents to attach to patients’ records. VITAS is an Apple shop, using company-owned iPhones, iPads and Mac laptops.

“The amount of time it takes to train clinicians on our processes has dropped 20-fold,” says Hale, noting that Workspace ONE management makes onboarding easy: “You take an Apple device out of the box, type in your name and credentials, the device automatically self-configures and presents you with an application that’s so intuitive it looks like a patient chart. In less than an hour, you’re ready to see patients.”

Hale estimates that device-related costs for a clinical work station have dropped by more than 35%, saving VITAS nearly $1 million a year. “Those iPhones, iPads and Mac computers are now our clinical workstations. Mobility has impacted us not only in the quality of the care that we can give at the bedside, but also in the bottom line and the IT solutions we can provide. We’re passionate about technology because every dollar that we can save on IT is a dollar we can spend on patient care. It’s important for us to be a good steward of the investment that’s been made in our technology.”

For healthcare professionals who care for patients near the end of their lives, protecting and securing patient data is critically important as well, says Naresh Samlal, VITAS’ associate vice president for IT support. He estimates that stolen credit card data might be worth 25 cents on the online black market, while the value of a stolen online health record might range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. “Our clinicians need to focus on caring for patients, not worrying about the pitfalls and risks of mobile devices,” according to Samlal.

VMware Workspace ONE for simple, secure, seamless management

Behind the scenes of this innovative mobility strategy is VMware Workspace ONE Unified Endpoint Management (UEM), powered by AirWatch technology. Workspace ONE manages all of VITAS’ endpoints (including Mac laptops) with rock-solid security and a single-screen view of all devices. VITAS leverages Apple Business Manager to enable Apple Device Enrollment Profile (DEP) and Volume Purchase Program (VPP), easing the onboarding and app distribution of new Apple devices. The mobile device management capabilities of Workspace ONE ensure that a device is provisioned with the apps and resources it needs, and can be remotely wiped to protect sensitive information if it’s lost or stolen.

VMware Content Locker provides a single point to access and share information across devices and networks while providing powerful security, such as encryption in transit and at rest. Easy to use, the solution requires only three full-time employees to manage the entire environment of more than 8,000 devices.

“VMware and Apple served as our foundation to successfully implement a robust and secure mobility strategy to make our employees’ jobs more seamless and enhance the care they provide to our patients and families,” says Hale.

Partners build on the VMware solution

VMware partner Wandera is another integral part of VITAS’ mobile footprint. “We chose Wandera to have more visibility into how mobile devices were being used,” Samlal explains. “Now we have a better understanding of how our devices are targeted by malware, phishing attacks, password leaks and threats of that nature.” Samlal also highlights AT&T as an important partner with Wandera: “AT&T brought us together. Wandera has a huge advantage of being able to deliver information over LTE and wireless. We couldn’t find another solution that could provide that.”

Wandera provides detailed information about how business apps are used and manages which networks can run specific apps—for example, limiting data-intensive video apps to Wi-Fi networks. This gives VITAS greater ability to plan capacity efficiently and right-size the company’s AT&T data plans.

Wandera also increases VITAS’ ability to use iOS seamlessly. “When it comes to iOS updates, we’ve been able to use Wandera to pause those updates and allow our mobility stack to get up to speed, to make sure that we can support the updates while providing uninterrupted patient care,” Samlal says. Once the network is stable, updates are made on all devices.

“It’s been so exciting to see the ways that AT&T, VMware, Wandera, and Apple have come together and collaborated for VITAS and our patients,” Hale says. “Whether we’re talking about Apple rolling out DEP or a new function, or a new security threat that hits, we have engineers from those four companies that come together, work together, join us in the field and do what needs to be done to ensure that all pieces of our solution are functioning.”

“When you talk about a really complex problem like mobility, it’s hard to imagine a better synergy than what we found with AT&T, VMware, Wandera and Apple.”
Patrick Hale, EVP and CIO, VITAS® Healthcare

VITAS Healthcare and Workspace ONE

Watch the video to learn more about this secure, multiplatform solution. 

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