One benefit of virtualization is that it offers sophisticated central control of IT resources across dispersed workstations. This is especially crucial in the healthcare industry since sensitive patient data is at play and compliance rules are stringent. Healthcare organizations must provide detailed records proving they comply with regulations that protect customer privacy and security and which control access to internal systems.
Control and compliance have become even more important as electronic health records (EHRs) become the norm and the BYOD trend persists. The good news is that virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) offers a cost-effective way for healthcare companies to be compliant while expanding access to EHRs.
Julian Jacobsen, an IT consultant for dental, chiropractic and boutique medical practices, offers a hypothetical scenario. Let’s say Dr. Smith has a small boutique plastic surgery practice that consists of two physical servers on-site: a domain controller and file server and a server running the EHR software. This is all well and good, until Dr. Smith decides to open a second location. Once that happens, he needs to keep his health records in sync so patients can go to either location and so he can access the records from anywhere, including his own home.
Undertaking such an expansion without VDI would likely entail installing two more servers in the satellite location and using a VPN to keep the servers in sync. VDI, on the other hand, reduces the need to purchase new hardware and lowers administrative costs since the central desktop is easier to maintain.
Healthcare organizations must also comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as their IT infrastructures evolve. To do that, the VDI solution must be paired with added security safeguards, such two-factor authentication (2FA) and full-disk encryption on both the server side and the backup storage side. “Using 2FA you have a HIPAA-compliant solution that can be accessed from anywhere, allowing physicians to work from home as needed without opening up protected health information to hackers,” Jacobsen says.
DermaTran Health Solutions, a national group of compounding pharmacies, turned to VDI to allow remote workers to connect to a secure, centrally-managed virtual desktop. This gives DermaTran the ability to ensure workstations are secure and that access is restricted properly with features like sleep timers, time-outs due to inactivity and more.
This also helps DermaTran meet PCI and HIPAA requirements, according to Jesse Davis, network administrator with DermaTran. “The hosted desktops provide a uniform work environment regardless of the device our users choose to work from, whether it’s Vista, Windows 7 or 8, or a Mac.”
IT infrastructure must evolve as more organizations rely on digital health records and access patient information from a variety of devices and locations. Thus far, VDI offers a cost-effective and compliant way to cater to such trends without sacrificing security.
Underwritten by HPE, NVIDIA and VMware