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Say So Long to PCs in Hospitals

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, September 3, 2013

But healthcare IT executives such as Fear are sleeping better at night thinking about the control, security, and management options that the new virtual desktops provide. Plus, the zero client hardware will outlast the older PC hardware and is even a bit cheaper to buy.

Deploying virtualization enables a lot of other intriguing possibilities. Radiologists who need more computing power have traditionally defined the level of computing power in a hospital's basic PC. But in a virtual world, those users who need more computing power on their desktops can get it served to them over the network, according to officials at Imprivata.

Zero client hardware nevertheless benefits from a decent level of commodity graphics that would have been in a high-end gaming PC just a few years ago.

When I hear the rising chorus of calls for more effective return on investment of healthcare IT, it's clear to me that job one for IT right now is getting inefficient, buggy, costly-to-maintain traditional PCs off to the scrap heap, and move in the direction that Kaiser and Memorial Healthcare and others have cleared. The writing is on the wall.


Scott Mace is senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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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.