The aging population, increasing patient demand and staffing shortages have pushed global healthcare organizations over the technology tipping point. As a result, these organizations are pressured to deliver healthcare services in a digital-first manner to increase clinician efficiency, patient satisfaction and data security. Nurses across all disciplines – bedside, emergency room, operating room and intensive care – as well as physicians, pharmacists and lab technicians are more digitally reliant than ever. Their jobs require instant access to applications such as an EHR system, dictation software and imaging viewers. This access can be anytime and anywhere, even in the most diverse circumstances, such as pop-up clinics, rural locations, remote care and in-home patient monitoring.
Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH), or multi-session app publishing is ideally suited to deliver these applications to end users regardless of their location and what devices they are on, while keeping patient information safe in a data center. Instead of installing EHR systems and other software on local devices, IT connects users to apps and desktops on server hosts shared among many users. This allows IT to have centralized control of software versions and eliminate the need to store data on endpoints, significantly improving security posture essential for industries like healthcare. In addition, due to the nature of healthcare services, there cannot be any concerns about performance, security, reliability, availability or other issues that would prevent clinicians from fully leveraging the technology, especially in situations where lives can be at stake. That’s why healthcare organizations look for the best-in-breed RDSH/published apps solution that is secure and easy to manage for IT teams, and intuitive and easy to use for the busy physicians and staff – for them to have peace of mind that the technology works whenever they need it.
Horizon Apps, a family member of the industry-leading Horizon virtual desktops and applications solution, leverages the same differentiating technologies such as Instant Clones, App Volumes and Dynamic Environment Manager to deliver published apps cost-efficiently and securely to healthcare workers. In addition to being an Epic target platform, here are the top five reasons healthcare organizations choose VMware Horizon Apps.
It optimizes user experience
97% of nurses and physicians are expected to rely on mobile devices or shared workstations at the bedside to perform critical clinical tasks by 20221; it’s essential to give them a digital clinical solution that is easy to learn and use. Frictionless adoption is the key to realizing maximum value.
VMware Horizon Apps supports secure access to applications and critical protected health information (PHI) from any device, anywhere. Physicians and nurses have immediate access to mission-critical applications such as EHR and imaging software, alongside web, SaaS and mobile apps, through a unified digital workspace. From the outside-of-hours emergency call to the bedside consultation, Horizon Apps, coupled with Workspace ONE digital workspace, allows these applications to move with care providers and staff throughout their day, enabling secure, simple and consistent access regardless of device or location, and supporting physicians and nurses’ flexibility and productivity.
Workspace ONE Access, included with Horizon Apps license, enables single sign-on for a streamlined login experience. The care providers can log in once and get access to all applications they need without remembering multiple sets of credentials. When paired with multi-factor authentication solution such as Imprivata, Workspace ONE Access empowers a tap, turn and treat workflow with a tap of a proximity badge or a swipe of a fingerprint, saving physicians an average of 40 hours per year from logging in and out of multiple devices and applications throughout their workday. Providing the physicians one centralized digital clinical workspace and removing any frictions from a traditional method such as long login waiting time, poor application performance and lagging, vastly improves the efficiency, digital adoption and clinician satisfaction.
Gartner predicts that a third of healthcare workloads will be in the cloud by 20232, and Forrester expects to see a 67% increase in the number of clouds used over the next three years. For healthcare organizations considering taking advantage of cloud benefits – such as centralized management, anywhere access, faster deployment, improved data security and reduced total cost of ownership – Horizon Apps provides the flexibility to deploy virtual app environments across on-prem data centers, private and public cloud.
Horizon Apps Universal licenses allow customers to deploy on-prem, on SDDC (Azure VMware Solution, VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud on Dell EMC or Google Cloud VMware Engine), or native Azure, with a set of cloud management services that universally manage these deployments. With Horizon Apps Universal licenses, customers can keep workflows on-prem while utilizing cloud management services to improve management efficiency, reduce operational costs or move specific workflows such as administrative tasks to the cloud. This also allows healthcare organizations to seamlessly burst and scale virtual desktops and apps capacity into a public cloud instance to meet spiking patient demand and prevent care interruption, reducing hardware spend for capacity fluctuation,
Horizon Apps meets the healthcare organizations where they are on the cloud journey, either fully on-prem, partially cloud or purely cloud. It also gives them the freedom to move across environments, access rapid disaster recovery, and scale up and down to meet growth or spikes in demand – all without disruption, excess cost or complexity.
It enables zero-trust security
Keeping PHI safe is on top of the priority list for any healthcare organization. That’s why almost 100% of the healthcare organizations choose to use an app publishing solution such as Horizon Apps to deliver their apps, because app publishing solutions are inherently secure with no patient data stored at the endpoints. IT teams centrally manage security patches and software updates.
However, increasing endpoints, remote and work-from-home staff, and virtual care delivery models introduce new vulnerabilities to the healthcare workflows and escalates cybersecurity attacks such as ransomware, malware, exploits to endpoints and networks. Therefore, choosing an app publishing solution that has extended security coverage becomes critically important.
VMware has a selection of intrinsic security solutions integrated with Horizon Apps, such as endpoint and workload virus protection by Carbon Black® Cloud, secure network optimization by VMware SASE and SD-WAN (VeloCloud) and device management by Workspace ONE. For instance, with Workspace ONE Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solution, when nurses return the devices to the charging stations at the end of the day, properly configured devices will automatically return to factory settings with all patient data wiped clean – so they are ready to be used by the next care team member who picks them up. This solution keeps patient and user data private between sessions while ensuring a seamless user experience every shift.
With Horizon Apps and its adjacent security solutions, organizations can rest assured that their sensitive patient data and healthcare systems are protected from external threats across apps, clouds, workloads, endpoints and devices. They can deliver a zero-trust security model at scale and embed security into every layer of the IT infrastructure to better identify, prevent, detect and respond to threats and abnormalities.
It’s built on a trusted digital foundation
According to Definitive Healthcare, 94% of all hospitals with greater than one thousand beds utilize VMware software defined data center (SDDC) solutions to host their EHR infrastructure3.
Horizon Apps natively integrates with VMware SDDC which combines the best-in-class virtualized compute, storage, networking and a common operating environment with cloud management solutions to run and manage healthcare apps and workloads across clouds, edge locations and devices. Horizon Apps accelerates real-time connected healthcare to improve patient outcomes through a digital foundation that connects the health systems, data and people in a turn-key manner. As a result, healthcare organizations gain agility and drive operational excellence and efficiency as well as safeguarding protected health information (PHI) everywhere.
It supports many healthcare use cases
VMware has been continuously innovating and investing in Horizon Apps to support ever-expanding healthcare use cases. These use cases include shared workstations for shift nurses, follow-me-anywhere desktops for physicians, in-patient room kiosk with auto-login enabled by smartcard, telehealth, high-resolution image rendering for radiologists and imaging specialists with vGPUs, as well as remote working capabilities for administration workers and insurance coders. In addition, Horizon Apps works with a broad selection of peripherals such as speech-enabled devices, barcode scanners and webcams, making the multitasked life of the nurses and physicians so much easier.
When choosing an app publishing solution to deliver mission-critical applications and digital resources, healthcare organizations need to think long term and strategically. Having a single vendor to deliver the solution from planning, to migration, to implantation can significantly save IT department all the headache of rolling out the most important piece of technology of the healthcare IT infrastructure. Learn about why these healthcare organizations choose VMware as their trusted partner here.
1 The Future of Healthcare: 2022 Hospital Vision Study, Zebra Technologies, 2021. https://www.zebra.com/content/dam/zebra_new_ia/en-us/solutions-verticals/vertical-solutions/healthcare/white-paper/2022-hospital-vision-study-en-global.pdf
2 “Gartner Says 50% of U.S. Healthcare Providers Will Invest in RPA in the Next Three Years”, STAMFORD, Conn., May 21, 2020 https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-05-21-gartner-says-50-percent-of-us-healthcare-providers-will-invest-in-rpa-in-the-next-three-years
3 Definitive Healthcare, Technology+, Vendor Market Share Software, June 2021.