The BDH Clinic has an ambitious goal: In the next two to three years, the majority of the working practices should be paperless. Citrix technologies are helping the specialist neurology centre to achieve this goal. Developed in conjunction with its IT partner, NetPlans, the digital workspace strategy is now being implemented, one step at a time.
The BDH Clinic Elzach is one of the leading centres for neurological intensive medicine and early rehabilitation, as well as for ongoing neurological rehabilitation. With 190 beds, the facility is the largest single provider of early neurological rehabilitation in Baden-Württemberg. For nearly 60 years, the BDH Clinic has provided a range of rehabilitation services for neurological disorders of all severity levels for patients in early adulthood and older.
Closely integrated teams, involving specialists from a variety of fields, treat patients with diseases of the central and peripheral nervous systems who require in-patient rehabilitation. This often includes the effects of stroke and cerebral haemorrhages, accidents involving head injuries or oxygen deprivation of the brain following resuscitation.
The BDH Clinic Elzach is integrated into regional health care organisations – such as the rehabilitation network of the University Medical Center Freiburg – and works closely with the surrounding independent hospitals and with registered doctors and therapists as well as out and in-patient care providers.
The doctors, therapists and care providers at the BDH Clinic Elzach are becoming increasingly reliant on digital technologies in their work. The institution has therefore expanded its IT infrastructure continuously over the past few years.
More than 90 virtual servers now run in two computing centres in separate fire compartments, and must be available around the clock. Network and storage systems are also set up for high availability and are largely virtualised.
The BDH Clinic has relied on Citrix technologies to provide central access to applications for around 600 users via the computing centre. Today, the patient management system CGM REHA, the documentation software ASPI MCDMS and up to 70 applications are delivered using Citrix Virtual Apps. This has simplified the management of the applications significantly. New applications and updates only have to be installed once and are then available to all users.
“Over the last few years, we have created an important basis for the digitisation of our workflows,” says Pascal Schwer, IT administrator at the BDH Clinic Elzach. “In the future, the use of digital technologies will become even more all-encompassing in order to optimise work processes. Our umbrella organisation – the BDH Federal Association for Rehabilitation – has set itself the goal of becoming a “paperless clinic” over the next two to three years. That is why we have to focus on the digital workspace in our IT strategy.”
With Netplans’support the necessary measures have been developed to make the IT workplaces at the facility fitfor the future. NetPlans first recommended that the Citrix environment in the computing centre be updated. The BDH Clinic now uses, among others, Citrix technologies such as provisioning services and app layering to further simplify the management of applications. Today, users can work almost without interruption when software updates are carried out. At the same time, the IT organisation is able to spend far less time on manual administration processes.
Citrix Workspace Environment Management is a helpful tool in this respect. The solution helps the administrators with profile management and the administration of user groups. Users also profit from the shorter log-on times on their virtual desktop.
With the new Citrix infrastructure, the clinic has also been able to increase the number of completely virtualised desktops. User desktops with special software or particularly high resource demands are now provided as virtual desktops via the computing centre. The majority of the existing fat client PCs have either been replaced by IGEL Thin Clients or refitted as Thin Clients with the Universal Desktop Converter from IGEL. The implementation of mobile thin clients is currently being planned. In the future, these will be transported on ward carts so that paperless documentation is possible directly in the patient’s room.
Some smartphones and tablets have also become part of the digital work environment at the BDH Clinic. In order to simplify and secure the administration of these devices, NetPlans has implemented the enterprise mobility solution Citrix Endpoint Management. This allows the IT department to ensure that personal and professional content on the mobile devices is separated. “Professional emails, for example, can only be opened using the integrated Secure Mail app from Citrix,” explains Pascal Schwer. “This runs in a protected container and communicates with the computing centre via an encrypted connection. If the end device is lost, we can also delete all of the data saved locally, remotely.”
Another important building block in today’s digital workspace architecture in the clinic is the file sharing solution Citrix Content Collaboration. The IT department wanted to provide users with a secure alternative to the widely-used cloud storage services from the consumer market. Today, users are able to share larger files or email attachments with internal or external contacts. “That could be anything from building plans to digital documents from applicants,” says Pascal Schwer. “With Citrix Content Collaboration, we have complete control over where these data are stored,who is allowed to access them, for how long and by which channel.”
Today, regardless of which end device the users choose to log in, they have access to their personal work environments at all times −with all of the applications and information they need. When switching end devices – for example when moving from the ward to a consultation room – they can simply take their current session with them. The closest available printer is also automatically selected, made possible by a “follow me” print concept.
In future, users will be able to log in to their virtual desktop using the same chip card technology that is currently used for access control and time logging. “Our goal is to realize a single-sign-on solution for every aspect of the user workspace,” says Pascal Schwer.
With the increasing digitisation of work processes, dependence on the central IT services is also increasing. NetPlans recommended that the BDH expand the Citrix environment to include a Citrix ADC solution. The Application Delivery Controller takes over the load balancing for all important components of the Citrix infrastructure, as well as for additional services, such as Microsoft Exchange. When a server fails, the users are automatically re-routed to other available servers in the area. That way, users can immediately carry on with their work.
A network solution from Citrix is now also in use for remote access. With Citrix Gateway, users outside of the clinic – for example, external secretarial staff – are securely linked to the internal network. They receive encrypted access over the internet to their digital workspace inside the Citrix environment – yet at the same time sensitive data never leave the secure computing centre.
“From an IT perspective the new infrastructure offers us numerous benefits,” concludes Pascal Schwer. “Today, we can provide new applications and services for the digital workspace much faster than before – at the same time, the support required for our 250 IT workstations has dramatically decreased. This is saving us enormous amounts of time which we can use for strategic digitisation projects.”
The IT administrator therefore sees the clinic as well-prepared for the challenges of the future. “Citrix offers us all of the building blocks of the digital workspace under one roof – and NetPlans supports us very competently with the technical implementation. We are therefore well on our way to achieving the goal of a paperless clinic in the next few years.”
The BDH Clinic is nearly 60 years old and is one of the best places for neurological rehabilitation in Germany. The clinic offers a competent rehabilitation program for neurological disorders of all severity levels for patients in early adulthood and older and works with partners such as the University Medical Center Freiburg. Experienced doctors and qualified therapeutic and nursing professionals guarantee personalised treatment at the cutting edge of evidence-based rehabilitative medicine.
The NetPlans system company group is a leading provider of planning, implementation and ongoing support for IT infrastructures, managed services and cloud solutions. Since its founding in 1998, NetPlans has developed from a classic IT company to a cloud provider with a comprehensive product and service portfolio. At its branches in Karlsruhe, Simmern, Neckarsulm, Freiburg, Balingen, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Mannheim, Zurich and Basel, NetPlans currently employs around 160 people.