Providers tout value of virtualization

May 15, 2015 in Medical Technology

Children’s Hospital Colorado, which serves patients across seven states and has been ranked one of the Best Children’s Hospitals by U.S. News and World Report for more than 20 years, leveraged Citrix and Microsoft solutions to create a mobile workflow for its clinicians and deployed a virtual desktop infrastructure workflow at its hospitals and clinics.

[See also: VDI as a BYOD strategy: pros and cons]

Clinical workflow efficiencies, greater security for mobile users and quantitative ROI were running themes this week at Citrix Synergy 2015, which concluded in Orlando on Thursday.

Children’s Hospital Colorado hospital had been looking to drive cost savings and save its providers’ time, according to David Burch, its manager of desktop infrastructure. It conducted ROI studies and determined that since its deployment in late 2013 VDI has delivered more than $300,000 savings from hardware and power cost savings.

[See also: Citrix customers showcase benefits of clinical mobility at Citrix Synergy]

The real savings was derived from provider time savings from the streamlined log-in process, said Burch. His department tracked all log-in and log-out activity by endpoint and user. In the month of January 2015, approximately 40 seconds of log-in time during the roaming and reconnect process were reclaimed, leading to 322.5 hours of savings or 17 minutes per user out of 1,081 unique users.

While the time savings per user may seem insignificant at first, a deeper dive into the top 155 users – the top 15 percent of users who logged in at least 15 times in the same month – revealed a savings of 47 minutes per user.

Using the same data, Burch’s department revealed that the super users who were well trained and efficient roamers saved one hour and 11 minutes per user. And the most efficient user in the same period saved nearly three hours of time, which Burch pointed out could be redirected to spending more time with patients.

In the first quarter of 2015, with more than 108,000 roams, 2,007 hours were saved from having to wait for log-ins, which translated to Children’s Hospital Colorado saving $110,408 in staff time (including both clinicians and non-clinicians) at a blended rate of $55/hour.

“If you extrapolate that over the year, that’s about $400,000, which is actually higher than that, with clinical staff rates,” Burch said.  

Louisiana health system brings value to doctors

Baton Rouge, La.-based Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, with more than 1,500 beds, also realized significant savings by implementing VDI.

FMOLHS conducted a study that revealed that it saved $750,000 a year on physician time as a result of faster log-in times. IT manager Johnny Brister expects those savings to “skyrocket” once the nursing time is calculated and included.

In addition, Brister’s department was able to reduce patch and update failure rates from between 15 percent to 20 percent down to zero.

A two-person team was able to swap out every device across six floors within four days, and clinicians were able to bring their own device and have them secured in less than two weeks.

“It really was ‘any device, anywhere’ for our physicians,” Brister said. “That was our first stab at BYOD.”

Ultimately, said Brister, “the value of IT is to be able to respond and bring value to the doctors, who drive the direction of the hospital.”

Collaboration between clinicians and IT

St. Mary’s Health System, a Catholic, not-for-profit 347-bed hospital serving Waterbury, Conn., and the surrounding communities, deployed combined technologies from Imprivata and Citrix to deliver a number of services to its clinicians.

“It’s all about every patient, every day,” said Tom Calo, solutions engineer. “The IT department used to dictate how the users had to use the system. But today, with consumerism and the needs of the users, we have to give them what they want and do that in a secure way.”

Physicians wanted single sign-on for the authentication and management of passwords so that they could roam more easily with mobile devices without disruption to their clinical workflow.

Reducing log-in times has produced soft cost savings, but according to Calo, the solutions have also transformed how the community teaching hospital’s IT department interacts with its clinicians. Now the clinicians come to Calo’s department to collaborate on services that they need.

For example, OR wanted to leverage secure texting and out-of-network messaging as a service for the loved ones of patients in surgery.

“We worked together to design and test the text updates,” Calo said, of the service that helped to increase patient satisfaction. While St. Mary’s is still gathering data, Calo credited the increase in the hospital’s HCAHPS scores to the communication services provided to the patients and their families.

Toward clinician and patient satisfaction

IT departments are looking for solutions that don’t hinder clinicians from providing the level of care that they want to deliver to their patients, according to Jake Hughes, healthcare evangelist and senior virtualization engineer for Citrix and former principal architect at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

VDI allows faster log-ins to systems and applications, so clinicians can get to patient information in a timely manner to deliver high-quality care, Hughes said. It also provides the consistency that clinicians want with their user experience.

Huges pointed out that C-level clinical executives, who are responsible for overarching goals of improving the patient experience and therefore improving patient satisfaction and engagement, are leaning on IT for technology that will support those goals.

“We really want to show them an experience rather than a technology,” he said. “That’s where virtualization and mobility solutions come to the forefront to improve patient and clinical workflow, which then begins to make positive impacts on patient and physician satisfaction and experience.”

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