Virtualization News

HIT Infrastructure Digitization Increases Mobile Flexibility

HIT infrastructure digitization gives IT administrators more visibility and control over their health IT environments.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- HIT infrastructure is transforming as organizations are digitizing their solutions to improve operations and improve patient care.

Research and Markets predicts that the global digital healthcare industry is expected to grow at a rate of 15 percent through 2021, driven by the adoption of telehealth, mobile devices, and government initiatives towards digitization and value-based care.

After adopting electronic health records (EHRs), many organizations look to mobilize their clinicians in an effort to decrease the amount of time they spend logging in and out of desktops and applications. Eliminating the inconvenience of desktop logins gives clinicians more time to interact with patients and may also allow them to see more patients without cutting visits short.

Mobile health includes the use of wireless technology such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones to enhance patient care and improve outcomes by giving clinicians ubiquitous access to secure health data.

Introducing mobile solutions is a complicated process for health IT administrators because not every organization can mobilize their clinicians the same way. Some organizations are limited by legacy IT systems or do not have the resources available to correctly and securely deploy a mobile solution.

IT decision-makers need to first evaluate what they can invest in for mobile deployments before a solution can be considered.

A Mercom Capital Group report released last month found that mobile health was far and away the most invested in health IT solution in 2016 because of the all-around growth of mobile health initiatives.

Mobile health apps were the most invested in technology last year according to the report with organizations often building multiple mobile apps for their environments.

Several major challenges healthcare organizations face when deploying mobility solutions is management and security. Accessing EHRs and protected health information (PHI) on mobile devices is risky if the device is not managed and secure.

The most traditional kind of mobility solution is an enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution. EMM includes mobile device management, mobile application management, mobile content management, and identity and access management.

While EMM solutions are still popular across most industries, healthcare organizations have been considering alternative approaches to securing mobile devices in the face of value-based care.

EMM solutions are as much about protecting the endpoint device itself as they are about securely accessing data. Putting too much focus on the endpoint can bog down the device with redundancies. If an application is already secure, the added security from the mobile app management may be redundant.

Healthcare organizations are becoming more aware of how all their solutions work together to eliminate redundancies that may be costing them money. Organizations are finding that digitizing parts of their infrastructure environment can give them more visibility and consolidate redundant solutions.

A more recent deployment option for mobility management and security is virtualization solutions. By digitizing desktops, IT administrators are able to remotely monitor all user activity and don’t have to be as concerned with endpoints.

Virtualization allows organizations to eliminate certain hardware costs in the datacenter, as well as give clinicians faster access to the apps they need to treat patients quickly and accurately.

Virtualization solutions are continuing to advance as software-defined infrastructure and hyper-convergence become more common in healthcare.

Virtualized solutions such as virtual mobile infrastructure (VMI), are poised to take over for traditional EMM solutions because they eliminate security risks brought on by users and unsecure endpoints.

Digitizing health IT infrastructure gives IT administrators visibility and control over the environment. This control allows clinicians to login to their desktops faster because they are less of a risk to network security.

The progress digital health IT solutions are making align with mobile and value-based care initiatives because they give organizations more efficient tools to improve operations. 


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