By now, you may have had some exposure to Citrix Cloud service offerings. If not, there are some great resources to get you up to speed. What if you’re a customer or a partner in the healthcare space and you’re wondering whether Citrix Cloud services for application or desktop virtualization might be right for you? It is useful to step back and recall some of the key value propositions of app/desktop virtualization:

  • Simplify and decrease management costs: Centrally manage and administer Windows desktops and apps to drive more efficient IT management
  • Secure your environment: Centralize your protected health information (PHI) so it never leaves the data center
  • Mobilize your Windows-based apps: Deliver Windows to any device that can run Citrix Receiver to enable better patient engagement
  • Deliver anywhere/anytime access: Untether users from their devices and provide remote access to their work so they can be productive from their workplace, on the road and at home

If you’re a Citrix customer, you’re very familiar with all of these benefits. So you might be asking yourself: ‘Why do I need to leverage Citrix Cloud?’ Cloud is simply a new delivery model for VDI and app virtualization.  Rather than running XenApp or XenDesktop on premise, you can manage your XenApp and XenDesktop instances in the Cloud. It’s important to recognize that not only do all of the benefits of application and desktop virtualization continue to exist in the Citrix Cloud, but also, you also get a number of additional benefits:

  • Pay as you go – You are no longer required to buy hardware and risk not achieving maximum utilization, but rather, you can subscribe to and use cloud when you need it.
  • Business agility – You can move much faster than in a traditional premise deployment model. Gone are the days when you have to buy hardware and then wait for weeks for it to be delivered, installed and configured. Get access to the hardware you need when you need it.
  • Evergreen environment – As opposed to a premise deployment, now you can stop worrying about having to keep your software and hardware up-to-date and focus on more value-added activities.
  • Subscription cost model – The cost of cloud capabilities becomes an operational expense rather than a capital expense. Many CFOs prefer this model because it smooths out large expenditure purchases and makes budgeting much more predictable. No longer do they have to deal with the lumpiness of an initial hardware and software purchase and then its ongoing depreciation.

You may be asking yourself, ‘How do I know if I’m a good candidate for Citrix Cloud?’ Below is a list of use cases – those that lend themselves well to healthcare customer goals and at the same time provide cloud advantages.

  • Contractor access
    • Think about contractor outsourcing for such things as medical records processing. A doctor or patient calls for access to medical records. You may be outsourcing this task to a third party. In order for those contractors to do their jobs, you need to provide secure access to the records that are being processed. You can apply this same thinking to the following types of contractors as well: financial analysts, HR systems, billing, etc.
  • Non-critical staff (refers to anyone not responsible for care delivery)
    • Examples include executive desktops, HR, marketing, payroll and anyone working offsite from the hospital.
    • This is an important cloud use case because these users tend to work traditional 8×5 schedules; a premise-based deployment doesn’t provide for optimized utilization of hardware and software in the way that a cloud solution can.
  • Non-production environments
    • Healthcare IT professionals such as you might have 20 different development or test environments in play. For example, you might have multiple EHR test environments. Rather than buying hardware for all of those environments – use the cloud for only what you need. Just remember that you may want to de-identify the patient data in the public environment.
  • Burst to cloud
    • There are a number of use cases that can benefit from bursting your premise deployment to the cloud.
    • Mergers and acquisitions have been a pervasive trend in health care; IT traditionally has little warning and must deal with short time frames to on-board an acquisition that includes employee of the acquired entity. In this scenario, that means purchasing and standing up on premise hardware on very compressed timelines.
    • Teaching hospitals enroll new students every semester. These institutions need to have the ability to scale up and down to address these cyclical needs.
  • Disaster Recovery
    • Disaster Recover is about setting up and paying for a second set of identical hardware and software infrastructure to prepare for an event that may never happen.
    • In the case of Citrix Cloud services, Citrix is responsible for standing up the primary and secondary (redundancy) infrastructure. This is one less burden that you must shoulder.

You’ll notice that to this point I haven’t talked about the electronic health care record (EHR) use case. As many of you know, EHR vendors carefully test and validate their software against Citrix environments. Only then do they provide prescriptive guidance to their customers regarding readiness. We are actively working with our EHR partners in the area of cloud and do expect that the EHR use case will be an important one.

If you would like to hear more, please attend the HIMSS17 presentation hosted by Christian Boucher and me at the Microsoft Innovation Theatre, “Citrix and Microsoft: Making the Healthcare Cloud Simpler and Faster.”

We’re looking forward to seeing you at HIMSS17, Citrix Booth #2623. Meanwhile, join the ongoing dialogue about digital workspaces:

Mark your calendar for future activities:

  • Watch for a HIMSS-sponsored Healthcare Webinar in late March.
  • Register for Citrix Synergy 2017, May 23-25, Orlando Florida.