The access challenges that physicians and clinicians routinely face today can be daunting, to say the least.
- Password problems: It’s easy to forget which passwords to use for which applications, and when to reset passwords. Calling the helpdesk for assistance can take up valuable time.
- Application access and printing confusion: When using another workstation, or returning to the kiosk they were using earlier in the day, doctors and other users have to find the right application and navigate back to the place where they left off. This can be frustrating and time-consuming, particularly if the user moved to a different workstation that has a different user interface. Printing can also turn into a hassle for roaming users. They may not know which printer is used by a particular workstation. Or a printer may not be located nearby.
- Remote access issues: When working remotely, users may not be able to reliably connect to the network and access the applications they need. And when they connect, the desktop may be different from what it is at the hospital. Even more frustrating, remote connections are often unreliable, dropping users in mid-session.
- Inability to use computing resources: Some guest users, such as candy stripers and vendors, can’t use computing resources for basic functions because they aren’t authorized for the corporate network.
Now let’s look at access from the point of view of the IT department. Since hospitals never close, IT has to ensure continual, reliable access every hour of every day. And there’s no shortage of challenges in making that happen:
- Desktop management: Clinicians often share workstations in a kiosk-like fashion, and it’s not unusual for a single workstation to be used by dozens of people in a single day. Many times, hospital workers also need to access applications and patient data from different client devices. To enable device-to-device roaming and kiosk capabilities, IT must apply the highest-common denominator to every workstation. This means setting up and maintaining each workstation with all of the applications users might need, and making sure each workstation has the computing power to handle all of these applications. That’s not an efficient use of resources.
- An inundated help desk: When a user doesn’t know how to find the local printer, it means another call to the help desk. And when users can’t remember their passwords or haven’t reset them, the help desk has to walk them through the process. To save time, people end up using other workers’ passwords instead of contacting the helpdesk. Shared passwords not only violate HIPAA mandates, they also hinder identity management initiatives.
- Remote access issues: Enabling remote access is a must for most healthcare facilities, but addressing VPN connectivity issues can become a time-consuming chore for the IT staff.
Symantec believes that many of these challenges can be addressed by taking a centralized approach to the management of data, which makes information more easily accessible to both healthcare providers and IT personnel. With a centralized management approach, care providers in different geographical locations can access the same applications and information simultaneously no matter where they are. This increases efficiency and productivity, while enabling providers to respond more quickly and improve quality of care.
There is an additional technology solution that can streamline the way healthcare organizations provide access to key applications: endpoint virtualization. While many organizations are already familiar with server virtualization, endpoint virtualization may be a new concept for them.
Thanks to its extensive portfolio for managing virtual workspaces and providing a portable computing experience, Symantec can help organizations better secure and manage their endpoint data and applications. Symantec’s strategy is to help enable a truly dynamic endpoint, where applications and information are delivered to any computing environment in a seamless manner.