Citrix just introduced the Desktop Transformation Model. As many of you know, I spent a few years in healthcare software, specifically in the implementation of electronic medical records (EMR) applications and the topic is still near and dear to my heart.
So, let’s run through the first steps of desktop transformation that Citrix Consulting Solutions details in this white paper and look at the exercise in the context of an EMR implementation:
1. Establishing Business Priorities. Since application delivery and desktop virtualization is probably not on top of your list of priorities for you upcoming EMR application, let’s look at this in other terms. You have to deliver the EMR application one way or the other to users. Chances are that you are given the guidance to do that at a reasonable cost. You also need to establish virtual work styles (allowing users to roam from room to room and possibly access the environment remotely), and ensure that you adhere to various security standards for the implementation and to ensure custody of the clinical data for regulatory compliance reasons.
2. Determine Time to Value: When thinking about addressing the business priorities, you will find that desktop virtualization can lend a helping hand in a big way. In order to determine the time it takes to realize the value of virtualization, you first need to perform user segmentation. In the case of an EMR implementation, this is fairly easy. Think of your user group as all clinical users in a specific location (we detail the process in the aforementioned paper, so have a look how user segmentation is done). Then get an idea of what type of modalities you are going to employ to deliver the app. Given the high number of users and the fact that all users need access to the same set of apps (sometimes just the single EMR application), you’ll want to shoot for an optimally managed desktop (it implies using central image management and using as many shared resources as possible.) This will be likely a hosted shared desktop without much user-by-user personalization.
3. Establish a technology roadmap. During this step, you map out the project in terms of critical milestones and estimate the implementation timeline. Typical desktop transformation initiatives start with user groups whose desktop virtualization provide high business value in a reasonably short amount of time. However, clinical implementation schedules are often driven by EMR related motivations and you may find yourself in a situation of having to introduce desktop virtualization to the hospital or clinics who go live first with their EMR implementation, regardless of the other factors. While the details vary, each virtualization implementation consists of you conducting a detailed assessment of requirements, formulate a detailed system design, and test and deliver the desktops to the users.

Once you’ve gotten your feet wet with desktop virtualization for the clinical users, you may find the technology suitable for other types of users in the back office as well. You may identify another user group who may benefit from fully transformed, on-demand desktops with pro-active monitoring, application self-service, and the ability for your department to charge the business units based on system usage In any case, the experiences gained with the first few virtualization projects will be invaluable to deliver desktops in a much smarter and better managed way to other users as well.
This is the power of the desktop transformation model. It enables you to go from traditionally managed (distributed) desktops to fully transformed desktop delivery.

Florian Becker
Twitter: @florianbecker
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