Cost, speed & security — How Cardinal Innovations used VDI, cloud technology to cut IT costs

As the healthcare industry continues to consolidate, health IT teams are tasked with delivering a seamless platform that spans the care continuum.

During a Nutanix-sponsored webinar June 15, leaders from San Jose, Calif.-based Nutanix and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Citrix Systems shared how their products have helped multifacility health systems improve their data sharing efficiency and enhance data security though hyper-converged, cloud technology and virtual desktop infrastructure. VDI solutions utilize an onsite or cloud-based data center to host an organization's files, data and applications.

Nutanix — Virtual desktop infrastructure
An enterprise cloud company, Nutanix uses a hybrid hyperconverged infrastructure. The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud integrates server, storage, virtualization and networking within a hyperconverged platform contained in an onsite server. The hybrid solution can also connect to the public cloud, enabling hospitals to access cloud storage when necessary.

"Your staff has control over the infrastructure, but you have the agility of a public cloud model," explained Dan Cowan, global healthcare director at Nutanix.

"We collapse the traditional infrastructure stack of virtualization and servers and storage fabric and storage into an appliance-based model," said Mr. Cowan. The company eliminates the need for a storage area network, instead leveraging local storage and software to produce a high-performing, scalable infrastructure. A storage area network provides block-level data storage access.

The Nutanix solution features built-in automated, self-healing infrastructure, meaning any infrastructural failures will automatically be resolved. Thus, people do not have to conduct maintenance or interact with the system as often, allowing for maximum availability of the application. The IT team can spend more time on application performance as opposed to system maintenance.

"We think there's a pretty direct connection between the simplicity we bring to the data center, the high availability and the scalability, and what's actually important to healthcare organizations," said Mr. Cowan.

Nutanix is involved in a variety of health IT partnerships, including; healthcare application providers, such as Epic and Cerner; technology companies, like Citrix and Microsoft; and healthcare advocacy and policy groups, such as HIMSS.

Citrix Systems — Secure and accessible app delivery
Citrix offers providers integrated virtualization, mobility, data sharing and networking capabilities.

"Our goal here is to really focus on delivering nimble solutions that allow you to customize that experience for your end-users (providers) and tailor how they consume those resources," said Christian Boucher, global director of healthcare solutions at Citrix.

Citrix solutions are designed to help providers with business innovation, clinical productivity, patient satisfaction and risk control. The company securely delivers a variety of apps and data to providers to help make their digital workspace more efficient and user-friendly. For instance, it offers server hosted desktops and VDI equipped with centralized management and Windows, Linux, web and SaaS apps delivery.

The company also offers enterprise mobility management, boosting the productivity and security of organizations via mobile device management, mobile application management, mobile content management, secure network gateway, and enterprise-grade mobile apps.

"We allow organizations to truly deliver the solutions they need to in real time, regardless of locations and security concerns in their environments," said Mr. Boucher.

Digital workspaces are evolving in healthcare, with new technologies entering the fold. Citrix aims to integrate all workflows and solutions — such as EMRs, dictation software, access and sharing of protected health information, imaging viewers and web-based applications — into "one easy pane of glass for your customers to utilize those solutions anywhere, anytime," said Mr. Boucher.

Cardinal Innovations — Cost, speed & security
The nation's largest specialty health plan, Kannapolis, N.C.-based Cardinal Innovations, serves 875,000 individuals.

The health plan sought a virtual desktop infrastructure solution once it began growing rapidly; Cardinal Innovations has seen a 35 percent growth year-over-year for the last five years.

"We needed to deliver end-user compute solutions at scale, quickly," said Robert Edwards, Cardinal Innovations' director of IT infrastructure and operations.

The health plan decided to deploy Citrix on Nutanix AHV (hypervisor), which is a turnkey infrastructure platform delivering enterprise-class storage, compute and native virtualization services. When considering a solution, Mr. Edwards said they focused on cost, speed and security.

Mr. Edwards praised Nutanix's speed, noting he can deploy Nutanix nodes in less than 30 minutes. Before deploying the Nutanix solution, Mr. Edwards said the IT team struggled to achieve benchmark performance, as they couldn't deliver some products fast enough.

"Not only do we save space in the data center from a footprint standpoint, but also the time-to-value in deployment," said Mr. Edwards.

Cardinal Innovations leveraged the Citrix XenApp & XenDeskop — a virtual app and desktop solution delivering Windows, Linux, web and SaaS applications or full virtual desktops to any device, anywhere — in combination with Nutanix's AHV, offering faster support and connectivity for new users as well as fewer required IT resources.

The combined solution allows Cardinal Innovations to ship pre-configured and locked-down Chromebooks. Nutanix also helped Cardinal Innovations drive down costs, which increased VDI adoption throughout Cardinal Innovations. By switching from VMware ESX to Nutanix AHV, customers will see $50,000 to $60,000 in savings annually, or $100 per desktop. By leveraging Citrix, Cardinal Innovations decreased its costs in support per user by $400 annually by providing a standard platform.

"The coupling of the two products made that merger go off without a hitch," "I no longer have a dedicated infrastructure team. I use a senior messaging administrator and a Citrix architect to run my infrastructure, because Nutanix has made it that easy," said Mr. Edwards.

 

Listen to the webinar recording here and view the webinar slides here.


More articles on health IT:
Bermuda Hospitals Board taps Spok for clinical communication
Study: Speech recognition software results in more errors during clinical documentation
Viewpoint: 4 unintended effects of AI deployment in healthcare

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2017. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

 

Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months