Desktop Virtualization: The New Reality for MSPs in Healthcare

End-users are getting real about virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)—or desktop virtualization. A report published in May by Mordor Intelligence pegged VDI as experiencing a CAGR of 54.59 percent over the next five years. And when it comes to the market for VDI solutions, healthcare is right up there—second only to financial services in terms of implementation rates. That’s why it’s a good idea for MSPs in the healthcare sector to move into VDI.

But how to get those prospects that are reluctant to consider VDI aboard the train? For starters, healthcare organizations are always looking at infrastructure-based cost reductions, but for those institutions that need to control costs (and which don’t in these days of reimbursement cuts, the push for Accountable Care, and the like?), VDI yields even better economic benefits. Yes, cutting infrastructure-based costs can lead to immediate savings—but VDI deployments bring a spate of other benefits that may also have a positive impact on the bottom line.

Improved Efficiencies and Mobility

Healthcare prospects need to understand that with VDI in place, clinicians and other constituents can access their desktops efficiently and securely from anywhere they can get a browser—be it their office, a patient’s bedside, or the like. This is critical in an environment where Accountable Care organizations are proliferating, consolidation is rampant, and clinician/specialist collaboration to improve the caliber of healthcare while demonstrating value is becoming the norm. The ability to deploy desktops in a matter of minutes saves time and money and enhances access to critical patient data.

Consider this: Unlike constituents in many other markets, clinical staff members log into their desktops with unusually high frequency—by some estimates, 50 times per shift isn’t uncommon. Booting up a standard desktop with data and applications takes three minutes or longer. Multiply that three minutes by 50, and you see the inefficiency. By contrast, when clinical staff members have access to virtual desktops, they can initiate and end sessions very quickly, reducing access time by about half, vendors estimate.

Then, there’s reduced downtime. If a device fails, the problem can be easily rectified without the need to rebuild local drivers and connections to additional endpoint devices. This quick return to working status enables utilization of expensive assets—for example, operating rooms, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment, and computed tomography (CT) areas—to remain at the highest possible level. That’s a major priority for many healthcare providers.

Improved Access and Rapid Scaling

Another major advantage of VDI that may influence customers to follow that path centers on ubiquitous access to healthcare applications. Notably, easier, universal, and secure access to electronic health records (EHRs), picture archiving communications systems (PACS), labs, and centralized applications empowers end- users at the point of care on any device. When virtual desktops eliminate the need for specific task-dedicated workstations, the need for multiple logins on different devices also disappears, and remote silos of data are merged onto a common platform. The end-result: a higher caliber of care for patients, at a greater level of efficiency and quite likely, at a lower cost.

Finally, it’s important to point out rapid scaling. Breakneck-pace changes in the healthcare market make it vital for institutions to maintain flexible and adaptable operating environments. PCs and laptops must be ordered, configured, and provisioned, which can take weeks, but virtual desktops can be deployed in minutes. So when healthcare facilities when acquiring new institutions, join new care networks, or adding new applications, they needn’t wait to add the desktops they need.

We’ve just scratched the surface of how desktop virtualization can be a boon to healthcare players, but these points are a good start for MSPs who want to see real profits from this implementation opportunity.