The recent news that Kindred Healthcare and Gentiva Health Services will merge into the largest post-acute provider in the U.S. got me thinking about one of the most valuable (but least discussed) outcomes of a centralized, virtualized approach to IT services – faster M&A integration. Why? Because Kindred shared this exact story with Citrix in 2011.

Every business executive and CIO knows that mergers and acquisitions are cumbersome and add complexity at many levels – from the business negotiations to employee onboarding. And the healthcare sector “M&A frenzy” is not likely to stop any time soon. Unfortunately for CIOs, IT system integration is perceived to be one the greatest impediments, costs and time constraints to assimilating newly acquired or merged entities.

But the exact opposite can be true. This is Kindred’s (and many other healthcare provider’s) “not so secret” secret: invest in infrastructure that enables you to instantly provision and de-provision all of your IT services to anyone, anywhere, on any device.

Here’s why. IT teams must provide employees of a newly acquired company with access to the resources they need to be productive – on day one. This is no easy feat when you have to:

  • Add and support legacy and custom applications that an acquired business may still rely on
  • Ensure that your corporate apps work on any device the acquired entity needs
  • Support a larger and increasingly distributed employee base – often with no increase to budget or staff, and
  • Protect your critical data from threats that may be present in the acquired company’s environment.

That’s why organizations like Kindred invested in Citrix technology years ago. They recognized that centralizing IT services could accelerate the time-to-value for M&A, enabling them to bring new staff, applications, systems and locations online in a matter of days rather than weeks or months.

When Kindred shared their story in 2011, they faced the task of integrating RehabCare, a $1.3 billion company with 37 hospitals in multiple states. As John Vorreiter, senior director of Technical Services at Kindred explained, “One of the challenges was to provide access to 22 financial applications for about 25,000 new users on day one. We had limited access to their environment ahead of time, before we actually owned them, so we couldn’t just go in and start installing systems.” Ultimately, Kindred leveraged Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop to deliver new users all of the resources they needed, from Adobe Acrobat to SAP, immediately upon commencement of Kindred’s operational ownership.

Here’s the kicker. The IT organization enabled a major strategic imperative for their business, but they did so with an incredible level of operational efficiency. In fact, only 4 Kindred employees and 3 contractors administered the entire environment.

Kindred isn’t alone in realizing the impact of a centralized approach to IT services. And, it’s not just about M&A. Think about all of the scenarios that this infrastructure strategy can impact. A health system wants to build out an urgent care footprint. A physician-owned practice group needs to grant business partners access to their data as they form an accountable care organization (ACO). Or, a large IDN wants to offer clinical applications and desktops as-a-service to entities they don’t own. That same infrastructure investment can deliver many real and quantifiable benefits for the business – quickly.

With the fall CHIME conference approaching, now is the time for healthcare CIOs to discuss how they effectively measure the impact of health IT investments. Instead of ROI, maybe healthcare CIOs should consider a metric that more closely aligns to that of patient care –  outcomes. Kindred’s story is one great example of how an IT investment can enable a real, strategic outcome: business transformation.

For more information on how Citrix empowers secure mobility in healthcare, visit and follow us on twitter @CitrixHealth. Also, be sure to follow the Citrix community on Next Wave Connect, the first healthcare-specific social collaboration platform that connects healthcare professionals and peers to solve the industry’s most challenging problems.

About the author

Lindsay Sanchez – Sr. Director, Vertical Solutions Marketing & Strategy, Healthcare Evangelist

Lindsay Sanchez is a senior vertical and solutions leader with 14 years of experience developing, planning and executing go-to-market strategies for multi-billion dollar high-tech companies. At Citrix, Lindsay is responsible for defining and executing the company-wide enterprise and vertical solutions marketing strategy. Her current focus includes Healthcare, Financial Services & Insurance, Legal and Education. Since joining Citrix in early 2006, Mrs. Sanchez has served in a variety of product and solutions marketing leadership roles. She holds a bachelors degree from Middlebury College in Vermont.