The healthcare industry is transforming as care shifts from traditional settings to more remote and virtualized locations. Therefore, healthcare organizations are having to adapt as virtual healthcare becomes a standard path of care. At the same time, points of care and points of sales are merging. Well-known retail brands will start to offer on-site wellness checks, labs, imaging, and dental services at a low cost. These new clinical ventures for retailers will require a new set of platforms to support patient privacy, data aggregation, and clinical applications.
Many healthcare organizations must also now address remote patient monitoring (RPM) and decentralized clinical trials (DCTs). RPM solutions make it possible to virtually manage patients and deliver hospital at home services. Hospital at home programs provide low-acuity patients with the ability to be monitored at home with patient-centric applications and medical peripherals. With DCT, the 50-year-old model of patients enrolling in a clinical trial and visiting their principal investigator (PI) at a clinic or hospital has changed thanks to digitalization. Now, the PI comes to the patient, virtually. The PIs have adopted a decentralized approach and are also working from remote locations, including their homes. This type of work can be enabled by a virtual desktop experience using VMware Horizon. Healthcare staff, like PIs, can access key clinical trial management systems, consent forms, electronic data capture, and even EMR (electronic medical record) data.
What challenges do healthcare organizations face with expanded points of care?
One of the business challenges healthcare IT departments face is inconsistent performance and poor technology user experience for clinical coordinators, physicians, nurses, and researchers. The lack of business continuity beyond the walls of hospitals, clinics, and other care settings makes it difficult to maintain clinical continuity for both healthcare staff and patients. Another challenge providers run into is the CapEx costs required to maintain the infrastructure on which the technology is hosted. Furthermore, healthcare staff must keep security and compliance in mind. It can be difficult for healthcare organizations to stay compliant with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) standards and secure while sharing sensitive patient data across different systems.
To face these challenges, healthcare organizations need to have the right technology in place to securely enable various groups to work from anywhere, including at home, and not to disrupt workflows or compromise sensitive information.
Introducing Horizon Multi-Cloud Solutions for Healthcare
Many healthcare organizations have been using VMware Horizon 8 to deliver virtual desktops and apps using on-premises infrastructure. VMware also offers Horizon to be deployed in the cloud, which is key to helping tackle the challenges presented by the new trends of telehealth, decentralized clinical trials, and clinical retail. The same benefits and use cases healthcare customers have realized by using Horizon on premises — such as centralized management, security, and compliance — can be applied as they consider Horizon Multi-Cloud Solutions for Healthcare. Let’s take a closer look.
How Horizon Multi-Cloud Solutions for Healthcare benefit the virtual healthcare model
We think there are three key ways these solutions will enhance virtual healthcare.
1. Empowering healthcare staff with virtualized experiences across any cloud, anywhere
Horizon Multi-Cloud Solutions for Healthcare help providers leverage the cloud to deliver an exceptional user experience for their employees — and patients. The combination of Horizon and infrastructure-as-a-service platforms (like Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, and Oracle Cloud) can extend the data center beyond traditional on-premises VDI deployment without impacting user experience. Using the VMware Blast protocol, healthcare staff get the same virtual experience accessing their on-premises Horizon desktops and apps as they would from cloud-hosted Horizon desktops and apps, regardless of their location. For example, when doctors move from one patient to the next, they get the same consistent experience if they are working in a traditional doctor’s office or at home.
2. Reducing costs and modernizing infrastructure
Horizon Multi-Cloud Solutions for Healthcare help reduce infrastructure costs and total cost ownership. Infrastructure can save money with cost-effective cloud computing, storage, and networks that are based on utilization instead of scoped for capacity. By shifting the capacity model to OpEx, Horizon customers can avoid the upfront, or additional, costs of on-premises infrastructure.
Many cloud providers offer cost-savings through hibernation-like or VM power management settings, which are not generally available for on-premises managed infrastructure. The unique functionality that cloud providers offer can also help reduce costs. For example, if customers choose to deploy Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure, they can take advantage of Windows 10 or Windows 11 Enterprise Multi-Session. This feature allows administration or other workers to use a desktop OS to deliver multiple sessions to staff, reducing the overall cost of delivering virtual desktops per user per month.
Horizon in the cloud can also provide solutions for several new healthcare use cases. One example is cloud bursting with VDI, which can provide desktop and app capacity to seasonal healthcare staff. Disaster recovery is another use case. IT can ensure desktop continuity by quickly redirecting healthcare staff to alternative desktops running on a public cloud while recovering desktops in main data centers on premises.
3. Securing patient data for compliance
Horizon Multi-Cloud Solutions for Healthcare provide a model to securely and quickly enable various healthcare staff to work from anywhere, without impacting workflows or compromising information. Healthcare administration and IT can deliver protected health information (PHI) securely to clinics and affiliates and ensure HIPAA compliance, across any cloud. When healthcare staff such as doctors, nurses, and administrators use any device to access patient data, the inherent nature of Horizon VDI being hosted on premises behind a firewall, or in the cloud provider of choice, secures the data. Using Workspace ONE UEM, healthcare staff can even secure mobile or desktop access devices, providing a complete end-to-end security and management solution offered by VMware.
Next steps with Horizon Multi-Cloud Solutions for Healthcare
With Horizon Multi-Cloud Solutions for Healthcare, IT admins can use the power of the cloud to empower their clinical teams with increased efficiency, productivity, and responsiveness in diverse and distributed workforce settings. Learn more about how Horizon and multi-cloud can help overcome your challenges in the expanding healthcare landscape here.