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VMworld 2017 Session Voting Open

This year VMworld session voting occurs earlier than usual.  For many of us, customers, partners, and employees alike, this is our chance to get our ideas out in front of others, and share our successes, struggles, and even a few laughs.  For those of you not familiar with the process of submitting a session, I would encourage you to check out this post, and consider partnering with your local VMware team to share your story, or ideas.  While healthcare is unique and spans many different functional areas, many of the challenges and architectures are similar across environments.

The voting has changed slightly this year, we have now moved to a system of 1 to 5 stars with 1 being not recommended, and 5 being must see.  More votes means more focus on healthcare, and more focus on healthcare is good for all of us.  To find the healthcare specific sessions, go to https://my.vmworld.com/scripts/catalog/uscatalog.jsp?search=healthcare&showEnrolled=false.  You will need to log in with your VMworld account, selecting the best healthcare related sessions.  Please get involved and make sure you vote for as many of these sessions as you find relevant.

One final note, we will again have several of our healthcare team working in the VMworld Hands on Labs.  We are always excited to see customers and friends visiting us.  Please come join us, ask us questions, share your ideas and challenges, grab a whiteboard, and test your skills with our lab staff.  VMworld is a time to spend with peers and friends, help us make it a great experience, get the best sessions in, and come and be a part of the fun.  See you there.

Himss 2017: Modernization Security Mobility Innovation, and Socks

Himss 2017 was an engaging conference for the VMware team.  Conversations with curious customers and conference attendees, enthusiastic booth staff, and exceptional speakers provided significant opportunities for networking and learning for all.

Kevin Mitnick wows the crowds at the VMware Himss Booth.

 

VMware hosted “THE WORLDS’ MOST FAMOUS HACKER” – Kevin Mitnick – in our booth doing live hacking demonstrations and drawing attention to some of the ways hackers penetrate physically and socially.  Mitnick’s way of explaining everything in relatable terms resonated with the record crowds.  His live demonstration of hacking reminded the observers of the need for vigilance and a defense in depth approach.


VMwareBooth

 

In the booth, VMware showcased the unique narrative enabling healthcare Modernization, Security, Mobility and Innovation.  With the Microsoft Hololens virtual reality glasses managed and secured by VMware Airwatch, healthcare practitioners were able to get a glimpse of the future with a secure training experience.  Amazon’s Echo was used to obtain metrics from vRealize Operations, providing a new way to consume data, and manage environments.  VMware’s LIoTA agent demonstrated managing Healthcare Internet of Things devices, providing data in real time with full analytics.

 

Socks

Finally, one of the most unforgettable moments was our VMware healthcare socks giveaway.  Visitors to the VMware booth were treated to a pair of our inaugural VMware healthcare socks.   We asked wearers to post their sock pictures along their #HITJourney, seeing pictures next to pools, all around the conference, and even in cars on the way home.  This was one of the most lighthearted parts of the conference; talking, laughing, and having fun with other attendees, and building great connections.  If you were able to make the conference, please post pictures of yourself in the VMware healthcare socks with the hashtag #HITJourney on your social media.  If not, ask your Healthcare Account team about how you can show off a pair of your own VMware healthcare socks, join our #HITJourney.

Check out more about Himss on our Twitter and Facebook pages, and while you are there, tell us where your #HITJourney is taking you.

VMware helps hospitals make the most of IoT

By Mimi Spier; VP Internet of Things, Marketing, Business Development and Strategy at VMware

‘Connected Health’ is a rapidly growing aspect of healthcare. According to a 2016 survey by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), 52 percent of US hospitals use three or more connected health technologies and 47 percent plan to expand their use in the next few years.[1]

Connected Health will feature prominently at this year’s HIMSS conference and exhibition, HIMSS17, to be held February 19–23 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

There will be an exhibition area dedicated to the Connected Health Experience focused on the Internet of Things (IoT), telemedicine, remote patient monitoring and next generation technologies, and more than 40 conference presentations on all aspects of connected health.

As a global leader in cloud infrastructure and secure business mobility VMware is well placed to support the connected health movement and the adoption of IoT in healthcare.

At HIMSS17 we’ll be making an important announcement to help hospitals securely manage, monitor and maximize usage of their connected health devices.

We’re partnering with VizExplorer, a leading provider of operational intelligence solutions to combine VizExplorer’s advanced analytics and visualization tools with Vmware products that manage, monitor and secure IoT from the edge to the cloud.

Our joint solution will enable hospitals to gain greater benefits from their myriad connected devices. They will be able to better understand how and where they are being used with visualization tools, real-time analytics and reporting. They’ll be able to increase the productivity of medial staff, improve equipment utilization and provide better patient care.

Come and talk to us at HIMSS17 and learn more about we can help you deploy, secure and manage IoT: from the edge to the cloud. You’ll find us in booth 3661.

The 2017 HIMSS annual conference and exhibition will bring together 40,000+ health IT professionals, clinicians, executives and vendors from around the world. You can find full details here.

[1]  http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/connected-health-experience-himss17-feature-more-50-tech-vendors

 

 

Win an Amazon Echo Dot from VMware

Put your HIT knowledge to the test and be entered to win a new Amazon Echo Dot during our weekly random drawings.

Here’s how to win:

  1. Follow us on Twitter (@VMwareHIT)
  2. Reply to our weekly question with the correct multiple choice answer
  3. Tag your response with the hashtag #HITJourney

***Only those with the correct answer will be entered to win!***

Winners will be announced via @VMwareHIT on February 3rd, February 10th and daily winners February 13th – 17th.

By following us, not only will you find out about our daily Amazon Echo Dot contests, but you’ll also get up to the minute details on the happenings at the VMware booth #3661 at the HIMSS17 Conference in Orlando, Florida:                      

==Highlights of the VMware Booth @ HIMSS==            

  • Kevin Mitnick, the World’s Most Famous Hacker LIVE!!!
    • Kevin will open your eyes to the vulnerabilities in most networks through live hacking in our booth!
    • Take home a signed copy of his new book, The Art of Invisibility, releasing February 14th
  • Experience how VMware Healthcare Solutions can help you:
    • MOBILIZE your providers and engage patients -Walk through “A Day In The Life of a Healthcare Provider” enabled by VMware solutions -Deliver a platform for innovation in patient engagement, provider education and the healthcare internet of things
    • PROTECT patient data and safeguard your brand -Secure your organization from lateral threat movement across the datacenter and desktops using VMware NSX -Identify every connected device in your network in 15 seconds
    • MODERNIZE your infrastructure *Reduce complexity and grow with VxRail and Cloud Foundation -Optimize vRealize and Care Systems Analytics to plan and control your expansion. Move to the cloud with VMware and our cloud partners, including Amazon Web Services.

Don’t forget to follow up @VMwareHIT

See you in Orlando,
VMware Healthcare Team                        

No Purchase Necessary.  Limit one entry per person.  This offer is valid only in the United States.  Entries must be at least 18 years old.  VMware makes no warranties in connection with this promotion and VMware expressly disclaims any implied warranties, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.  This offer is valid from February 26, 2017 to February 17, 2017. Winners will be chosen by drawing on February 3rd, February 10th and daily drawings on February 13th – 17th. Entry need not be present at HIMSS to win.

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Understanding the cost of healthcare IT

There is sometimes a perception by healthcare technology users that virtual machines are free, and resources are unlimited.  We, as healthcare IT professionals, have a responsibility to properly set expectations with our application and financial teams, and to show them the true costs of the projects they undertake to help healthcare providers.

Cost of the private cloud

Cost of the private cloud

A key component of understanding private cloud deployments is cost.  Management consultant Peter Drucker stated, “What gets measured gets improved”.  This is incredibly true when looking at the components of a private cloud infrastructure.  Providing application and finance teams with raw output of utilization metrics gives a very limited value.  Virtual CPU counts and memory utilization are meaningful only in the context of someone who works with the infrastructure.  

Breaking down the costs by different applications or teams provides cost evaluation on the existing environment, but more importantly cost projections on future projects.  Using the vRealize Business tool from VMware, the cost of a new or upgrade project can be calculated with a much greater degree of accuracy than previously.  This becomes more important in healthcare IT environments with the number of vendor applications, many of which tie into the electronic medical records system.  By providing the cost data in advance, project budgets can be determined at the beginning of the process, and vendor expectations can be projected.

Business management for the cloud
Business management for the cloud

As healthcare applications evolve, where those workloads physically reside becomes less important.  Application owners can request the required resources, and the infrastructure team can then use the vRealize Business Business Management report to determine the most cost effective placement for the workload.

Once workloads are placed, regardless of location, budgeting becomes important.  Looking at costs over time, and comparing the cost of various internal or external infrastructure, allows teams to make better decisions on short and mid-term growth.  Capital expenditures can be delayed based upon financial modeling.

Healthcare financial management for IT

 

Healthcare Financial Management for IT

 

Many healthcare financial teams dedicate a number of resources to tracking costs and budgets within IT.  With the growing size of many health systems, managing these budgets centrally can become a monumental task.  Rather than providing yet another application to the finance team, vRealize Business can provide the healthcare financial team a view into the same data, in a format they can readily consume.  By using the same data, and feeding it into their existing systems, or better yet using the reports provided, finance and IT can work from the same numbers.

For long term budgeting, this is particularly important.  By bringing in previous costs, and projecting new projects, IT and Finance can take a longer view of the actual costs of IT.  Providing this cost back to individual application and patient care teams allows them to make more efficient choices with their allocated budgets, providing better outcomes to their constituents.

Cost modeling for the healthcare IT environment should not be an arduous task.  It is often times the best way to help application teams set appropriate budget and expectations for their customers.  By providing accurate and actionable financial data, healthcare IT can be an innovative partner in the patient care process.

Cloud Foundation: A Healthcare Infrastructure Baseline

cloud foundation

Cryptographer Ralph Merkle said, “The new technologies that we see coming will have major benefits that will greatly alleviate human suffering.”  Making those technologies available to care providers is the mission of healthcare IT.  VMware’s Cloud Foundation is the baseline for the healthcare infrastructure.  Healthcare IT must provide infrastructure to internal customers as a utility service, reducing friction between healthcare IT and their internal customers.

What is Cloud Foundation?

Deploying infrastructure is often a manual and tedious process, adding little or now value to the healthcare provider without applications.  Because infrastructure, in some form, is necessary to provide the application, any repetitive work should be automated.  Significant time is spent in most environments designing, deploying, and managing the infrastructure.  

Cloud Foundation aggregates the core infrastructure products of vSphere for compute virtualization, vSAN for storage virtualization, and NSX for network virtualization.  Enabling standardized deployment and management of the core infrastructure stack enables healthcare IT to focus on higher level tasks such as providing applications and moving new projects into production.

Abstraction of Hardware

Healthcare IT is in the business of providing applications to those who provide patient care.  For many years we spent far too many man hours managing hardware systems, focusing on interoperability of various components.  In the modern healthcare datacenter, abstraction of the hardware layer allows far more supported hardware permutations, and more highly available systems.  By abstracting the hardware, maintenance windows become less of a risk, and hardware refresh is simply a matter of moving workloads off a device.  Because all control is done in the software layer, decisions can be made closer to the point of origination, whether that is network routing or storage cache.  

From a deployment perspective, the hardware simply becomes a platform.  Select the supported hardware platform, and deploy the software defined infrastructure components as a single install.  This does not, however, negate the need for highly skilled and specialized teams; it simply shifts them to a more software focused role in managing the infrastructure at a higher level.

Abstraction of Cloud

The cloud is becoming more acceptable in healthcare.  The true value to the cloud in a healthcare environment is being able to place applications in the environment which provides the greatest value.  Redeploying an application each time it moves between datacenters or cloud providers does not provide application portability.  Rather, having the same software infrastructure stack across each cloud provider, including your internal private cloud, provides a simple method to move workloads without concern of compatibility.

The biggest pull of the cloud for many healthcare organizations is the ability to quickly test or run short term workloads.  Basing this infrastructure off of Cloud Foundation allows the healthcare IT teams the assurance if the workload becomes longer term, or if it needs to be brought back in house, the same standards in the internal datacenter will be available with the cloud provider.  Security in the cloud can be enforced with the same policy-driven approach that is required internally.

 

VMware’s Cloud Foundation is the baseline for the healthcare infrastructure.  Spend less time managing physical infrastructure, spend more time improving patient care; making technology work for the provider.  Technology continues to enable better patient outcomes.  As we become more reliant on technology in healthcare, we must find new ways to simplify the delivery of that technology.

Recent VMware Product Updates

To a care provider from a century ago, today’s healthcare would likely seem like science fiction.  VMware continues to innovate, enabling Healthcare IT to improve patient care through technology.  Over the past several months, we have introduced a number of improvements to existing products which provide new functionality; and a new deployment and maintenance model.  

Cloud Foundation

Standards in healthcare are critical.  We need look no further than the operating room checklists to see examples of how we work to simplify everything into a series of standard steps.  With the launch of Cloud Foundation, VMware creates a similar series of standards for healthcare IT.  vSphere for virtualized compute, VSAN for virtualized storage, and NSX for virtualized network and security provide the building blocks for the healthcare datacenter.  

In healthcare IT, with so many systems revolving around the electronic medical records system, maintaining a standard becomes a challenge.  Cloud Foundation provides a standardized deployment and patching of the core software defined infrastructure products.  A single sku for purchase, and a single deployment and patch for the core software defined infrastructure.  We are no longer required to manage dependencies on the core infrastructure side.

VM Encryption

Virtual machine encryption has long been a request of many healthcare security teams.  While there are third party solutions, native VM encryption provides a policy driven security solution.  Encryption is completely agnostic to the operating system, encrypting the components rather than using an agent.  Because it is policy-driven through the vCenter, encryption can become part VM lifecycle management, much like network and storage policies.  Policies can also restrict locations the VM may be moved to so that critical systems are always on systems capable of encryption.

Managing encryption raises a number of potential concerns for security teams and regulators alike.  To simplify management, while providing for separation of duties, VM encryption is designed to use an existing key management system, with additional roles in vCenter to separate administrators managing virtual machines from those managing encryption.  With the rise in identity theft, especially from medical records, encrypting critical systems answers security concerns and brings them into the virtual environment as a valued team member.

vCenter Appliance

In many healthcare IT environments, vCenter has become a critical application.  As more systems become managed through vCenter, high availability, virtual systems updates, and accessibility become expectations.  Since the introduction of the vCenter appliance, additional features have been moved toward a more integrated model.  With the latest update, native replication provides an active-passive cluster with a witness node.

Update Manager in vCenter is a critical component, especially in healthcare, to ensure that the virtual infrastructure remains current.  Including this within the vCenter appliance, there is again a single system to maintain rather than multiple components.  User experience and accessibility has been improved with the new HTML 5 interface, incorporating the latest update manager components.  Additionally, a new rest based API makes vCenter more accessible.

 

VMware continues to innovate, enabling Healthcare IT to improve patient care through technology.  This is a very small summary of some of the new announcements.  Please consult your local VMware Healthcare team for a discussion on some of the new innovations and how they can benefit your organization.

VMware RDS Hosted Applications Announced as Target Platform for Epic 2015

VMware Solution Passes Wide Range of Usability, Performance, and Scalability Tests for Application Delivery

VMware RDS hosted applications is now included in the Epic 2015 Target Platform list.  Target Platform helps guide healthcare organizations to choose validated architectures and platforms for the delivery of the electronic medical record (EMR) vendor’s software. VMware RDS hosted applications becomes the seventh VMware product to be included in the Target Platform list. Customers who currently use VMware and Epic can now utilize VMware’s software-defined data center platform and the VMware Digital Clinical Workspace™ to host, deliver, monitor, and manage their EMR from the data center to the point of care, helping to ensure high-quality patient care and improve outcomes at lower costs.

Historically, application remoting has been how most healthcare IT organizations have chosen to deliver the EMR. Since VMware Horizon was added to Target Platform in 2013 for delivery as an installed application directly in the virtual desktop, there has been a shift away from virtualizing just the application. Installing within the gold image for clinical desktops brings efficiencies in terms of hardware, licensing, support, and maintenance, helping to free up IT resources and budget. But there are absolutely still use cases where delivering just the application, and not the full desktop may be the better solution. This includes Community Connect use cases, remote coders, and potentially remote access for providers (although in all of these use cases the provider or coder may require other applications as well which would make the full desktop the better choice).

VMware customers now have a complete, single validated platform that delivers efficiencies in management, monitoring, and of course, cost.

 

Outside of Target Platform requirements, VMware is actively engaged with joint customers in testing and supporting VMware App Volumes™ to further simplify application updates and deployment for both the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and hosted application delivery models. (healthcare organizations can contact their Epic representative for more information) Moreover, there is strong uptake in mobile applications being delivered and secured through VMware AirWatch®. Earlier this year, Epic enabled the central configuration of Haiku, Canto, and Rover through the AirWatch console.

Reasons to deliver VMware healthcare solutions include:

  • A Single Complete Platform for Delivering EMR functionality: VMware solutions for healthcare have achieved seven Target Platform designations from the EMR provider for components across the data center to the point of care
  • Support for any Kind of Desktop and Application Delivery: VMware provides a broad choice of desktop, application, deployment, and mobility scenarios
  • Simplified Management and Analytics: VMware vRealize® Operations for Horizon® and VMware Care Systems Analytics™ for Epic extends monitoring visibility into infrastructure and provider workflows, providing complete visibility into performance across all aspects of the EMR platform and supporting infrastructure
  • Transformational Clinical Mobility: VMware AirWatch, part of the VMware Digital Clinical Workspace, provides healthcare IT with a single platform to manage all devices through a variety of ownership models. Bring-your-own (BYO), hospital-owned, check-in/check-out, and single application modes provide flexibility in how devices can be managed and used
  • Enhanced Security: VMware and its robust partner ecosystem helps reduce data theft, malware, and ransomware threats while improving overall security postures
  • Simplified Storage: VMware Virtual SAN™ is a software-defined storage solution that enables healthcare IT teams using Horizon VDI to deliver better performance for much less cost

Details and documentation for the testing and support for VMware RDS hosted applications can be found on User Web, Epic’s customer portal.

Find the latest healthcare stories from VMware

Application Centric Storage in Healthcare

Datacenter storage costs can be as high as 50% of healthcare capital budgets.  Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM) saves capital cost, providing a higher level of performance at a more manageable cost.  Clinicians rely on the VMware platform for their applications, which are required to deliver care.  It is our responsibility to continuously provide a better platform and improve patient experience.

Traditional and Tiered Storage Models

sep16-1

In the traditional storage model, logical storage volumes are created.  In most storage arrays, this is a single type and speed of storage. For many years, storage and virtualization teams focused on moving workloads between storage tiers, and overbuilt the storage to provide expected performance.  This is similar to a hospital where patient rooms may be awkwardly shaped with unusable space for patients and providers.  From an architectural perspective, this is less than ideal.

With tiered storage, the ability to move workloads within an array was introduced.  Sometimes a single virtual machine might be spread across different types of storage within the storage array.  This was more efficient, but requires high performance storage for the entire amount that may need to be available based on projected workloads.  You never want to be in a situation where the high performance tier is undersized.  Compare this to an emergency room; where providers should be productive and not idle, keeping in mind there needs to be enough providers on site in case you have a high volume of trauma patients.

Storage Policy Based Management

sep16-2

Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM)  introduces the idea that the characteristics of the storage should be presented to the virtual environment.  From the time the virtual machine is created, it is given a set of characteristics, or policy it should have, such as snapshots, replication, performance tiers, etc.  The system can then ensure appropriate placement, and if the characteristics on a specific storage system change, the virtual machine is then moved to meet the required policy.  If the administrator or the system make a change to the policy, the virtual machine is moved as needed to maintain compliance.

SPBM is similar to how a patient might be moved through a hospital during his/her stay.  When he/she comes in through intake, he/she is given a patient identification, which is essentially a policy.  The patient is placed in the appropriate area for his/her needs; trauma patients to the emergency room, surgical patients to the surgery center.  As needs change, the patient is moved; post surgery, recovery, etc.

From a storage perspective, we have now introduced the storage system to vCenter.  They are sharing information, and working together, much like a patient care team might work together to give that patient, the virtual machine in this case, the best possible care.

Software Defined Storage Versus Storage Arrays

sep16-3

Applying this to healthcare data centers; how does this look when we are faced with so many array vendors, and now with Virtual SAN, VSAN from VMware?  Simply put, SPBM, is independent.  Placed in front of a Virtual Volumes enabled storage array, it will look similar to a VSAN datastore.  SPBM is the engine which sits between the storage and the virtual machine to ensure policies are complied with.

This is akin to the hospital administrators who are often between the providers and the patients.  Rarely do they need to interact, but they are there making sure the experience is a smooth one, and the details are seamless.  Without the administrators, the rooms might not be cleaned as thoroughly, and food services may be less efficient.
VSAN is production ready, and a number of large enterprise healthcare organizations are taking advantage of it today for their most critical workloads.  In nearly every case, it is not a matter of software defined storage versus array based storage, but rather determining the right storage for the right application.  VSAN can easily coexist and provide an additional layer of performance storage at a significant cost savings, and a path to better provider experiences and patient care.

Storage Policy-Based Management saves capital cost, providing a more efficient storage management model for Healthcare IT.  Stuart Gerson, a former acting Attorney General, stated, “Changes in the status quo threaten people who are wedded to the status quo.”  As we work to improve patient care through technology, it is imperative that we find new ways to solve problems, and keep costs down.

How hospitals can protect against phishing while embracing remote work with VMware and Imprivata

Guest Post by Dan Borgasano, Imprivata

Healthcare users are increasingly mobile. Now their secure two-factor authentication options are mobile too. VMware and Imprivata have further strengthened their partnership by integrating Imprivata Confirm ID for Remote Access into VMware Digital Clinical Workspace  environments. The solution enables VMware Workspace ONE users to use the same Imprivata DEA-compliant authentication methods they use to login and also e-prescribe securely and conveniently while working remotely.

 

Why healthcare has unique authentication needs:

As remote work becomes increasingly popular in healthcare, secure remote access poses challenges for security-conscious organizations. Healthcare organizations are becoming high profile targets for phishing, whaling, and spear phishing attacks that trick healthcare users into revealing their passwords to hackers. Hackers then use those credentials to mount ransomware attacks, steal patients’ personally identifiable information, and sell Social Security Numbers and other sensitive identity data on the black market. In response, healthcare organizations are introducing strong two-factor authentication requirements into their remote workflows.

Two-factor authentication requires users to provide two forms of identification to access patient data. These forms, or factors, should include a combination of two of the following:

  • Something you know – such as a username and password combination
  • Something you have – such as a mobile device, a soft token, or a hard token
  • Something you are – such as a fingerprint scan or other biometric identifier

Two-factor authentication can significantly improve security. According to the Annual Report to Congress on the Federal Information Security Management Act, up to 65 percent of cybersecurity incidents could have been prevented with strong, two-factor authentication. However, many of the traditional two-factor authentication methods, though secure, pose additional challenges for remote users because they can be clunky, inefficient, and inconvenient. These kinds of user experience challenges pose unique problems in healthcare environments in which users often need to authenticate as quickly as possible in order to provide time-sensitive care to patients.

 

How Imprivata and VMware address healthcare’s unique authentication needs:

Imprivata Confirm ID for Remote Access addresses the unique challenge of balancing security and convenience in healthcare settings by combining strong authentication with convenient workflows for all healthcare enterprise users, including clinicians, administrative staff, affiliates, and contractors. Confirm ID integrates directly with VMware Identity Manager and critically, offers a broad range of  DEA-compliant authentication options, including Hands Free Authentication, push token notification, fingerprint biometrics, SMS messages, and conventional software tokens. By providing a DEA certified encryption algorithm, providers are able to use the same workflow for their initial login to access patient information as well as any subsequent EPCS order signing workflows simplifying training keeping providers focused on patients, not technology.

Imprivata2FA

By providing flexible, user-friendly two-factor authentication options in mobile virtualized environments, Imprivata and VMware provide the technology healthcare organizations need to out-smart hackers and avoid becoming the targets of the next high-profile healthcare security breach.

To learn more about how Imprivata Confirm ID can complement your VMware Horizon environment and protect your organization from phishing attacks, visit www.imprivata.com/remote-access or download our latest whitepaper https://www.imprivata.com/resources/whitepapers/choosing-right-two-factor-authentication-solution-healthcare