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Say So Long to PCs in Hospitals

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, September 3, 2013

I first witnessed virtualization in healthcare firsthand watching a clinician log in with her name badge at a thin client when I was a Kaiser member eight years ago. But Kaiser wasn't the only trailblazer. Another provider who implemented virtualization on PCs starting in 2002 is Memorial Healthcare, a 150-bed hospital in Owosso, Michigan.

Memorial Healthcare moved strategically from thin clients to zero clients a year ago.

"As healthcare changes over the next four or five years with the Accountable Care Act and with industry pressures to reduce cost, virtualization is going to become a key component to creating efficiencies that right now we just don't have," says Frank Fear, vice president of information services.

Fear says one of the biggest advantages – and an occasional drawback – to zero clients at Memorial is this: Every morning, or whenever staff arrives for a 12-hour shift, they are creating a brand new virtual desktop. The previous desktop's state of appearance is never saved. The data is always safe in the data center, and not stored locally on the zero client.

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5 comments on "Say So Long to PCs in Hospitals"


Tommy (9/11/2013 at 7:56 AM)
The CAPEX savings are a perception not necessarily a reality. OPEX can see savings in FTE man hours but that can be offset by the increased OPEX of the licensing cost to Microsoft each year depending on the number of clients. Licensing cost(especially Microsoft), and the cost of fast storage to offer up the virtual machine are the current deal breakers for most hospitals. I agree that the VDI brings a lot to the table in rapid upgrades of hardware and software, decreased patch time, security, etc. However, even though the edge device is cheaper to buy than a full desktop that savings is negated for the previous reasons of licensing and storage.

Steve Munie (9/6/2013 at 1:10 PM)
The problem with broad statements are the exceptions. Radiology was mentioned but dismissed. Even if a solution could be deployed to deliver 12 MegaPixels or more to the desktop, the performance of the chipset would not match that of a local WorkStation. Don't try to think that there isn't still a computer where the cables plug in. For the most part it is a very trending movement with many positive benefits. A wide deployment of mobile devices (tablets) along with replacement of desktop PCs throughout the hospital floors is a good strategy.

scottmace (9/4/2013 at 3:03 PM)
No area of the hospital is exempt from this trend.