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South County Hospital Healthcare System Deploys New Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

Accredited by The Joint Commission, South County Hospital Healthcare System (SCHHS) is an independent, non-profit, acute-care hospital that offers the latest advances in technology and a comprehensive range of advanced medical and surgical services. Recently, the hospital’s server and desktop team launched an initiative to evaluate virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions in order to streamline the process of desktop deployment and reduce both troubleshooting issues and costs.

​SCHHS initiated the process by looking at basic solutions such as RDP terminal servers, but quickly encountered numerous obstacles in terms of incompatibility or elements of the solution just not working properly. The group then looked to VMware View as an alternative. As an OSHEAN member, SCHHS was aware of a company called Envision Technology Advisors, which was brought in to show a live demo and provide recommendations and best practices for how the hospital might use a system such as VMware View for its virtual desktop infrastructure.  South County Hospital Healthcare System engaged Envision for a proof of concept, was pleased by the results, and decided to move forward with a full implementation.

Benefits of VDI

The project initially kicked off with a pilot group of 20 users. During this pilot phase, the SCHHS team received a wealth of valuable feedback that it used to fine tune the VDI project prior to moving into full production. Since the full implementation, the response to the new VDI system has been very positive at SCHHS. The hospital has found that VDI has made it significantly easier to roll out a new desktop. Prior to the VDI implementation, the process was to order equipment, burn it with the standard image, configure applications and more, then deploy it to the end-user, often requiring several hours of work.

​“The new VDI solution has provided us with a stable, easy-to-manage platform,” said Juan Ayala, senior server administrator at South County Hospital Healthcare System. “The user experience is great and it runs really fast, providing numerous benefits to our entire organization in terms of productivity, cost savings and ultimately continued excellence in patient care.”

With the new VDI system in place, SCHHS physicians are able to access their desktops from anywhere, on any device. For example, they can readily access their office PCs while on the floor doing rounds by logging into whatever device is available nearby – even an iPad. When a physician is paged, he or she has access from home, or can log in on the go from a mobile device such as a smartphone in an emergency situation to gain access to patient records, test results, radiology readings, EKG readings, and more. Ultimately, this helps achieve the primary goal of making patient care more effective.

​With VDI, there is a single, standard and consistent way for SCHHS employees to access their desktops from any device. This is a tremendous benefit, as the organization doesn’t have control over the various devices physicians use at home.

“A problem in the past has been that so many remote access solutions have been designed for just Windows, or another specific platform,” Ayala said. “What’s nice about our current VDI system is that it works for almost any device, no matter what it is. It just works.”
​South County Hospital Healthcare System also deployed Stratodesk in conjunction with its VDI system to enable the repurposing of existing devices. Stratodesk can make any device an endpoint for a virtual desktop, no matter how old it is. The device can be used to reach a VMware View log on screen, and once a user is logged in they reach a modern Windows 7 desktop. VDI has become a standard platform for PC deployment at SCHHS. When any new or replacement device is installed, VDI is deployed. “My advice to others starting to evaluate VDI is that the technology has really matured to the point that it is rock solid, and I would encourage any organization that hasn’t looked into it to jump on it because the benefits are really great,” Ayala said.

Leveraging the OSHEAN Community for Support

As an OSHEAN member, South County Hospital Healthcare System was able to take advantage of OSHEAN’s VMware View licensing purchase services and Liquidware Labs Profile Unity licensing, a profile management system for virtual desktops.

More importantly, being part of the OSHEAN community provides many ongoing benefits for innovative organizations like the South County Hospital Healthcare System. The networking opportunities with other OSHEAN community members in similar situations are tremendously valuable, as SCHHS was able to share VDI implementation solutions with fellow OSHEAN member CharterCARE Health Partners.

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