Located in central California, Kaweah Delta Health Care District (KD) includes facilities for acute care, rehabilitation, mental health, long-term care, medical fitness, urgent care and outpatient therapy. The hospital system embraces emerging technologies to help provide its community with services that rival even those of major hospitals, from a well-respected pediatric program to nationally recognized cardiac and cancer programs.
KD understands that the best patient outcomes result from timely, well-informed decisions. “Our primary focus is on what we call the ‘six rights’: getting the right information to the right person, at the right place, at the right time, in the right format, to ensure the right value,” said Dave Gravender, KD’s CIO. As a new generation of mobile devices began to emerge, the hospital’s IT department recognized the opportunity to help its doctors achieve new levels of responsiveness by putting complete patient data and clinical applications in their hands literally anywhere they go, at any time.
KD already used Citrix virtualization technology to provide secure, remote access to some clinical systems from any thin client, desktop or laptop computer. But extending this capability to mobile devices posed new challenges. KD’s 280 physicians work as independent contractors, prohibited by law from using hardware provided by the hospital. With no way to standardize the devices its doctors carried, KD’s IT staff faced the prospect of developing a separate remote access tool for every mobile platform they happened to use.
Instead of pushing back against the proliferation of mobile devices, KD embraced it and created a new infrastructure to support it. Spurred by the introduction of the Apple iPad tablet, whose larger screen offered even greater utility for medical applications, the hospital used Citrix virtualization software to create “MyKD,” a complete virtual desktop that can be delivered to any type of computer, mobile or otherwise, from PCs to thin clients to tablets and smartphones. “From a bring-your-own perspective, we’re very open to the kind of device a physician wants to use to access our systems,” Gravender noted. “As long as it has the Citrix Receiver client loaded on it, we’ll allow it.” Doctors simply log into the MyKD desktop to access all of the hospital’s clinical systems, including the Siemens Soarian electronic medical record system, labor and delivery monitoring systems, X-rays, EKGs and other real-time data. Nurses, pharmacists and other employees no longer have to wait their turn for fixed desktops or “computers on wheels” with varying levels of performance. Dieticians and service hosts even use iPad tablets to access MyKD and discuss meal options with patients and take their orders.
The MyKD initiative has made it possible for doctors to keep tabs on their patients, respond to their needs, make fully informed decisions and relay instructions to hospital personnel at any time, from any location: home, office, grocery store, even a highway rest stop. Inside the hospital, doctors can carry their iPad tablet on their rounds and use it to share information with patients. One physician remarked that during a “Code Blue” emergency, he was able to use MyKD to access the patient’s history and physical information, improving his knowledge of the patient’s condition. Said Gravender, “The sooner we figure out what’s wrong with the patient, the faster we can fix it and get them back to a normal life. Citrix makes it easy for us to connect the new generation of mobile technology to our environment to help doctors make the right decisions, faster.”
“From a lifestyle perspective, it makes a big difference for doctors to be able to finish their documentation and sign off on charts when they’re home with their families instead of working late at the hospital,” said Gravender. A better work-life balance helps them stay at the peak of their capabilities and helps KD retain skilled, in-demand medical professionals.
While many healthcare organizations have struggled to implement electronic health records while maintaining patient confidentiality in accordance with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), XenDesktop helps KD provide instant access to these records while ensuring full confidentiality. “Because XenDesktop is a virtual desktop solution and runs in the datacenter, there’s no patient data being stored on the device,” explained Gravender. “Citrix provides HIPAA-compliant, secure connectivity that’s perfect for the healthcare environment.”
XenDesktop has made it easier for KD to implement systems of all kinds throughout the organization. The hospital recently took advantage of Citrix single-image management to roll out a bar-coded medication administration project to aid patient safety by verifying the “five rights of medication management”: right patient, right drug, right dose, right route and right time. With no need to configure individual workstations, the IT team deployed the Siemens Med Administration Check (MAK) system quickly in more than 300 patient rooms.
“Citrix desktop and application delivery is allowing our IT operations to accelerate and standardize the end user computing environment. This paradigm shift is transforming our support team from dealing with hardware/OS issues to giving better clinical application support to our physicians and employees,” said Nick Volosin, ISS Director of Technical Services for KD.
Continuing to push the leading edge of healthcare IT, KD is now using XenDesktop to extend its virtual desktop infrastructure environment to the remaining 20 percent of its traditional, distributed desktops in departments such as patient access/accounting, medical records, accounts payable and HR. XenDesktop will make it possible to provide these users with a standardized virtualized Windows® 7 desktop that is easily maintained and easily updated, improving user flexibility and mobility while reducing costs compared with continuing to support and maintain these hundreds of workstations. Throughout the organization, KD’s Citrix desktop virtualization solution helps people capture, share, and use information more quickly and efficiently to deliver truly world-class quality of care.
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