Why Healthcare CMIOs Love Unidesk

Posted by Meghan Simmons on Dec 2, 2016

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The Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) has a difficult task as the liaison between IT and end users (physicians, clinicians, nurses, etc.). This role has become exponentially more challenging when you factor in the demands of achieving Meaningful Use and integrating with the Health Information Exchange (HIE).

In this post we will explore a specific challenge of the CMIO - how to meet the conflicting end user computing demands of IT and end users - and how Unidesk is helping some of the largest healthcare organizations in the world address it.

The Challenge: IT Wants Control, End Users Want Personalization and Apps On-Demand

One of the biggest challenges between healthcare IT and end users that we see on a daily basis is the struggle for control of desktops and applications. IT often chooses to deploy technology that helps them achieve their control and efficiency objectives. Yet, this often puts them into conflict with the end users they serve, who want Windows workspaces that can be personalized with the apps and settings they need.

Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 11.29.23 AM.pngA prime example of this is Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software. IT might be mandated by the CIO to deploy an EMR solution such as Epic to comply with Meaningful Use and the local Health Information Exchange. However, most healthcare organizations have many different departments, each of which requires a variety of Epic configurations and different ancillary clinical applications that need to integrate with Epic. Physicians, clinicians, and nurses will not accept a "one-size-fits-all" workspace, even though that has traditionally been the easiest workspace for IT to deliver.

This is why we consistently see multi-million dollar EMR deployments at risk - IT and end users are not aligned.

Unique Perspective of the CMIO

The CMIO understands that care providers choose to enter the medical field because they want to help people. These end users need to be given customizable Windows workspaces that meet their unique needs, that can be accessed 24x7 from any device, and that provide a "follow-me" experience that can pick up where the care provider last left off.

At the same time, the CMIO understand IT's needs for operational efficiency and cost control.

This is why we love talking to CMIOs. They have the unique perspective that enables them to be the voice of reason between IT and the end user. This unique perspective typically comes from their own personal experience having practiced as a physician, clinician, or nurse and then being able to marry that experience with what they know about technology.

And this is why they immediately understand Unidesk's unique value.

How Unidesk Is Helping CMIOs

At the end of the day, all the end user cares about is being able to access the applications they need at any time, from anywhere, and on any device. For IT, they need a simple, efficient way to package and deploy the applications their end users need to be productive on a daily basis.

Unidesk’s innovative application layering technology integrates with and extends the Windows workspace delivery technology that is already being used to deliver EMR solutions such as Epic, McKesson, Cerner, and Allscripts, which for most hospitals and medical centers is Citrix XenApp.

Here are the challenges we see with XenApp that Unidesk helps CMIOs overcome:

  1. XenApp is often used to publish EMR, its ancillary apps, and a few common apps such as Microsoft Office. For most health systems, even publishing this small number of applications results in many different XenApp server "silos" and images that take IT too much time to patch, update, and administer.
  2. If application virtualization solutions such as App-V are used to reduce the number of images required or expand the number of apps that can be published through XenApp, application packaging cost and complexity dramatically increases for IT, as does the amount of time it takes for IT to respond to care provider requests for new apps and app updates.
  3. IT must still deliver hundreds of other departmental and "one-off" applications required by users. Most often, these are installed locally on physical PCs using legacy, agent-based software distribution tools. Packaging MSIs and dealing with the 3-5% failure rates of agent-based installations increases IT costs and end user response times. Furthermore, these apps cannot be accessed 24x7 through any device like apps delivered through XenApp.
  4. In the cases where XenApp is used to publish full desktops, the "one-size-fits-all" characteristics of shared hosted desktops (every workspace has the same apps; personalization is limited) makes end users unhappy and unproductive.
  5. If VDI solutions such as Citrix XenDesktop or VMware Horizon are implemented to give users personal virtual machines to overcome the previous challenge, an entirely new server and storage infrastructure will be required. IT will need VDI skill sets and expertise. And image management and application packaging will still be a challenge.

Here is how Unidesk makes everyone happy – IT, end users, and most importantly the CIO, CFO, and CMIO - by addressing each of the above challenges:

  • Unidesk eliminates XenApp image sprawl. No matter how many apps are published through XenApp and no matter how many silos are required, Unidesk ensures that IT only has to patch and update a single instance of Windows Server 2008/2012/2016 and all applications.
  • Unidesk enables IT to package applications in 80-90% less time. Instead of taking 6-10 hours to virtualize each app, IT can layer each app in less than 1 hour. Even apps such as Imprivata OneSign, Dragon Medical, .NET, drivers, and Java - which are problematic for other application management solutions - can be layered by Unidesk.
  • Unidesk enables the hundreds of departmental and "onsie-twosie" apps to also be delivered through XenApp, without needing new XenApp server silos or images. Agent-based installation failures are eliminated, as are MSI packaging costs. Response to care provider requests for new apps and updates can be fulfilled in 1 day instead of weeks or months. And all apps will be accessible 24x7 through any device.
  • In the cases where XenApp is used to publish full desktops, Unidesk Elastic Layering enables each published desktop to be customized with unique apps and personalization at login. By giving XenApp shared hosted desktops the same personalization and app customization as persistent virtual desktops, end users will be happier and more productive, and the high cost of VDI can be avoided.
  • If VDI solutions such as Citrix XenDesktop or VMware Horizon are the strategic direction, Unidesk will prevent image management and application packaging challenges from recurring in this new hosted workspace environment.

Next Steps

Are you a CMIO who is seeing friction between IT and end users around how quickly and efficiently EMR and other applications can be delivered? Schedule an Impact Analysis with us. In 20 minutes, we can help you quantify what this friction is costing you. Then we'll provide you with a worksheet and summary document using your data that will show how Unidesk can remove that friction.

With Unidesk, you can think differently about application management and delivery, get more out of your current Citrix investments, reduce costs, and, most importantly, give both IT and end users exactly what they want.

After scheduling your Impact Analysis, learn how Unidesk enhances your Citrix XenApp, Citrix XenDesktop and App-V environments:

Topics: Healthcare, Epic EMR

Posted by Meghan Simmons on Dec 2, 2016

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