How to Improve Hospital Security and Support Patient Care with VDI
Healthcare IT professionals in every organizational scale face the challenge of properly managing user environments. The virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has the ability to help organizations with endpoint device control for end users and clinician login times. The end result is professionals who can spend much more time with patients.
The Primary Threat Against Digital Healthcare
Your medical records are worth around 10 times more to hackers than your credit card records. A study from Trustwave showed that medical records may be worth as much as $18 per record on the dark web.
Here’s the bottom line – if your organization houses less of its data on endpoint devices, the threat of a breach goes down. Here’s why.
The virtual desktop infrastructure gives hospitals the ability to reduce risk through isolated hosting that is centralized on the virtual desktops. If a single device on this type of network is stolen or compromised, it is quarantined from the rest of the system. Each device also limits the information that it sends to screen images rather than raw data. These VDI solutions, prohibitively expensive in previous generations, are now less expensive than legacy solutions in many cases.
Running a desktop within the auspices of a virtual machine personalizes each end user desktop, streamlines the management of these desktops and reduces the cost of the entire operation. It also provides protected support for companies with BYOD policies, meaning that new devices incorporated into the infrastructure will not unknowingly open backdoors.
A relatively new and unique threat, ransomware, also has its opportunities limited with the appropriate VDI in place.
VDI is one of the most cost effective ways that also eliminates the need of a hospital to maintain its own in house PCs. The central server can manage all of the PCs in an organization, updating and quarantining individual PCs from a centralized place that is much more difficult for a malicious user to access.
Additionally, the right VDI solutions also reduce a hospital’s time to recovery should the network become compromised in any way. It also helps to control any damage that does occur in an infection. The VDI will store master images of your system profile, ensuring that any single PC can be restored in minutes rather than in days or weeks. The data on these master files is also encrypted so that if it is stolen or compromised, the attacker cannot use it to hold for ransom.
Why is the health of your patient records so important? Compliance and business continuity aside, protecting patient records also supports the patient care efforts of a hospital. Using a VDI helps healthcare professionals access EHRs much more quickly than any other method, ensuring that patients are cared for more expediently.
How VDI Helps With Patient Care
Hospitals in general are moving into value based care, and technology is a huge part of this improvement. Most medical organizations are moving away from a primary concern on security to a primary concern of secure information access. As a result, the virtual infrastructure has become a much more prominent factor in the infrastructure of many organizations.
Virtual desktop infrastructure solutions (VDI) allows healthcare organizations to consolidate systems that were previously scattered and disconnected. This consolidation actually saves the business money and improves the efficiency of day to day operations. Patients are beginning to expect this level of performance from their health organizations.
Clinicians use VDI to rapidly access patient data on the fly. Through a centralized virtual system, the same data is accessible from any exam room in a building and connected to output devices and clinical areas in other organizations as well. The problem of slow login times has plagued healthcare professionals for some time since the widespread implementation of electronic medical records. VDI reduces this login time, giving professionals more time with patients. At the same time, these logins are secure, ensuring that only the appropriate people can access these sensitive records.
Access goes through badges or biometrics, keeping hospital professionals from having to memorize a difficult password. The result is a login time that is reduced from an average of two minutes to less than half a minute in many cases.
Improved Administration Improves Patient Care
VDI also allows doctors to take their work home and deal with the paperwork of the job in the off hours, when they have time to perform administrative work without the additional pressure of seeing patients. Data from a centralized location can be piped into the doctor’s personal device, including a home desktop. The data is just as well protected in this location as it is on the hospital campus.
Allowing doctors to securely access patient data from home also reduces the instance of human error. Because the pressure of seeing patients is not there, doctors have time to slow down and ensure the veracity of recordkeeping in a comfortable, controlled environment.
In short, VDI provides healthcare professionals the ability to improve patient care substantially. This improved care occurs with no downside, as the improved infrastructure allows for healthcare professionals to speed up every process around patient administration. Patients have more time with their doctors, the records are more accurate and the hospital can administrate more cases without additional pressure. Alongside this improved efficiency comes improved security. Patient records are much safer within a virtual environment than they are within a legacy solution. The VDI is also the source of many of the improved efficiencies within the hospital infrastructure while it protects records with more effective barriers.
Author: Bill Flatley, Field CTO for Healthcare
Bill is responsible for technical strategies and recommendations for Comport’s Healthcare clients. His extensive experience includes four healthcare systems in leadership roles supporting Clinical Applications, Digital Health, and Office of the CIO as the primary liaison between IT and the business.