Profound changes in healthcare reform and accelerating advances in medical technology are placing information technology (IT) in a pivotal role as the business model for healthcare undergoes rapid transformation, and healthcare providers seek to keep pace. With health care costs and quality assurance taking central roles in health reform, attention is being focused on leveraging healthcare IT to improve the efficiency of provider business operations, medical care delivery and, ultimately, patient outcomes.
To meet Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy standards, IT must help ensure that this data is secure. In addition, IT must deploy new technologies to help ensure that doctors, nurses, and other clinical staff have access to the data and applications they need on demand, from any location. And finally, IT must effectively address the cost equation by delivering solutions that increase operational efficiencies and ultimately drive down costs.
Although demands for IT will continue to rise, cost must come down: CIOs must be looking for innovative ways to manage the costs within information systems organizations. One of the key technologies that can make healthcare provider IT departments more efficient and help them to meet these challenges is virtualization.
This whitepaper focuses on major advances in cloud client computing solutions supported by Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), and how these technologies can address the challenges facing healthcare providers by providing a more flexible, integrated, and virtualized IT environment. Healthcare is a very complex and highly regulated industry, and the evolution triggered by regulatory requirements will occur over a decade or more. However, 2011 is shaping up to be a record year for spending in healthcare IT, as the industry rushes to meet new government regulations and looming deadlines. According to Gartner Group, more than $88.6 billion was spent by providers in 2010 implementing electronic health records (EHRs), health information exchanges (HIEs) and healthcare IT initiatives.1 In 2011, healthcare IT vendors and consultants saw an increase in revenue between 10 and 20 percent, a confirmation of the critical role that IT plays in the transformation of the healthcare model.