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Dell Launches Meditech Desktop Virtualization

The mobile clinical computing system uses VMware technology to allow desktop healthcare applications to be accessed in the cloud and delivered as a managed service.
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Dell has unveiled a mobile clinical computing (MCC) program that will enable healthcare organizations using the Meditech Health Care Information System (HCIS) to more easily and securely retrieve clinical information on their virtual desktops, as well as reduce desktop management, support, and deployment costs.

Announced Monday, the Meditech MCC program relies on a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that is cost efficient, improves data management, and provides flexible deployment of virtual desktops in hospitals and their extended communities.

The program uses VMware vSphere, a cloud operating system, and VMware View, which allows desktop applications to be accessed in the cloud and delivered as a managed service. Additionally the solution includes Imprivata's OneSign application and Forward Advantage's API integration with the Meditech HCIS for using advanced authentication devices for e-signature actions.

In providing a technology solution for Meditech users, which include more than 2,300 hospitals, ambulatory care centers, physicians' offices, and long-term care facilities, the MCC program is Dell's latest attempt to explore new ways to offer technology to the healthcare sector. Jim Fitzgerald of the Meditech solutions group within Dell services, said in an interview that the flexibility offered in the MCC program will make it easier for clinicians to access, coordinate, and use additional technologies as they perform their daily tasks.

"MCC is 'mobile' both in the mobility of the virtual desktop session from client device to client device in a healthcare environment, and in the capability of the virtual desktop to support non-traditional client devices such as the Dell Streak Android tablet (and other smartphones) in a secure manner," Fitzgerald said.

He also noted that as healthcare delivery organizations adopt Meditech's electronic health record system, its physician care manager software, and other health IT, a major challenge is end-user compliance. Additionally, digitizing clinical information comes with the ability to access patient data quickly.

"Reducing login/logout times from 22 to as little as eight seconds, allowing sessions to move seamlessly from desktop to tablet to workstation-on-wheels, and making the desktop consistent and reliable with VDI all enhance provider confidence with the clinical information systems and drive higher usage rates and more implementation success," Fitzgerald said.

One healthcare organization that has experienced challenges operating its desktop environment is Yukon Hospital Corporation in Yukon, Canada. According to Patrick von Wiegen of the information systems division at Yukon Hospital, managing clinical and administrative desktops is one of his organization's most pressing issues.

"By implementing MCC for Meditech, we hoped to reduce our help-desk calls for our PC clients as well as provide remote access for the physician offices," von Wiegen said in a statement.

Dell said it will work with customers to develop a custom design and deployment plan that works best for them. For customers who want to integrate the model into their existing data center technology, Dell's technical consultants will help them develop and design an implementation plan, beginning with a technical assessment call as well as an optional three-week "blueprint" analysis of the customer's existing client environment using automated software tools.

If the customer goes ahead with the project, Dell provides project management, delivery, and configuration of equipment including integration with existing customer infrastructure as well as setup and handover of the virtual desktop environment.

For customers who want to sign up for the Dell Services cloud technology model, pricing is generally on a per-month, per-desktop basis and is calculated after assessing a customer's usage of their existing client environment.

"A customer who is primarily using one application, such as Meditech, and some ancillary back-office software would have a less expensive hosted desktop than a customer running many complex applications," Fitzgerald said.