Carlo Poma Hospital of Mantua: Citrix Solutions in the Field of Public Health

With the progressive increase of the park PCs included in the structure, the management of workstations has become one of the main items of expenditure at Carlo Poma Hospital of Mantova, in addition to absorbing a considerable share of the resources of the corporate information system.

Following the introduction of the software from the Lombardy Region SISS, Hospital Carlo Poma of Mantova needed to upgrade the workstations to move into virtualization. In detail, the regional document CRS-ISAUSIAU5 / 2008, “Application User Interface Specifications - Configuring the PDL Operator”, fixed the minimum requirements of the Work Station SISS, both in terms of hardware and software. These minimum requirements should be adopted by all of the workstations belonging to the SISS by the deadline of 31 March 2009.

“Following the disclosure of the SISS Region Company, Hospital Carlo Poma of Mantova showed that there were about 550 workstations lacking the minimum requirements, either hardware or software based,” declares Pedrazzini. The Hospital had moved to meet the SISS regional development plans by the end of 2005 to enable the PDL SISS in all hospital departments. At that time the workstations were adequate in technical and economic terms, with certain hardware features obviously lower than expected by time the next document was approved in 2008.”

In 2008, the Hospital Carlo Poma decided to study a different architecture to try to permanently solve problems of updating workstations, avoid investing in an unproductive way on the same PDL. It then adopted a model no longer based on distributed desktops and applications, but rather on centralized desktops and applications, regardless of the configuration of the PC hardware and software which has already been present in the workplace.

“We were involved in the study among the leading manufacturers of virtualization solutions: Microsoft, Citrix and VMware,” explains Pedrazzini. “With the support of external consultants, certified in various solutions, we were involved in pilot installations and had the opportunity to evaluate performance and operation of solutions. The Citrix product, installed by Infonet of Padua, was the best solution to solve the problems and in 2009 we began the rollout of Citrix XenDesktop with a first batch of 600 users. The solution will be expanded gradually and in a short time at least 50% of the workstations will run through the desktop and/or virtualized applications.”

Currently the technologies used by the Hospital Carlo Poma include Citrix XenDesktop Enterprise, Citrix XenServer for server virtualization and Citrix XenApp for application publishing.

“Thanks to the integrated solutions provided by Citrix,” said Pedrazzini, “we exceeded the limits of current Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions and achieved greater simplicity and security in the distribution of Windows desktops to any workstation on the network. With the new infrastructure every PC is centrally managed consequently increasing availability of service, maintenance and upgrades.”

But the benefits of adopting the technologies of the Desktop Delivery, according to Pedrazzini, do not end with the increase in the life cycle of the station, but also provide advantages for security issues.

“With the centralized delivery approach, management who have the task of delivering the service can respond more promptly to the security and confidentiality of sensitive data,” adds Pedrazzini.

A model application and system is not oriented to the desktop and the applications installed or deployed on clients, but is centralized and “delivered” to the client according to the policy profile, allowing IT to establish a process of standardization of applications and systems, increasing control and security.

A significant improvement in safety is also achieved by eliminating the possibility of using incompatible applications on the same PC.

The investment return

“Beyond the improvement in the management of resources,” says Pedrazzini, “we calculated that the use of this application will bring our company a significant return on investment in less than two years: in fact, the virtualized desktop solution will save over 70% on the operating costs of the entire park PC hospital.

“To obtain this indication, we considered live and measurable costs that characterize the two solutions, the traditional and consolidated virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). In detail we calculated operating costs of 500 PC’s for the last six years.” They evaluated three cost components: the initial cost of purchase (PDL, licenses, servers), power consumption and cost for room cooling, and management costs (downtime, updates and travel).

“The adoption of the consolidated solution exponentially increases the continuity of service offered to workplaces. This benefit is reflected in the increased productivity of the employees and in a higher quality of service provided to customers,” concludes Pedrazzini.

The SISS - The Health Care Information System

From medical records to the SISS

To improve the relationship between the public administration and citizens, and to promote access to a range of services not only in the Social and Health, the Lombardy Region in 2004 initiated the Project CRS- SISS (Regional Services Card). The SISS (Health Care Information System) aims to facilitate relations between the different actors: the Region, the General Practitioners and Pediatricians of the territory, and in general with all the social and health facilities. The SISS provides national delivery of a smart card that I can be used to:

  • Access the service via computer, identifying the city and allowing healthcare professionals (family doctors, pediatricians, pharmacists, hospital specialists) to prescribe and possibly reserve health benefits.
  • Access their health records (reports, discharge letters etc.).
  • Store emergency data relating to the citizen in a safe but easily accessible place (allergies, presence of important diseases, limitations on the use of drugs).

The system is based on a ‘virtual network’ allowing institutions operating in the record, to access in real-time all the medical records (including reports) relating to that citizen. The functionality of the SISS are designed to ensure privacy in compliance with legislation: the health workers are only authorized to access the data of citizens who have given their consent to their treatment.
The Regional Charter Services is distributed to all citizens assisted in Lombardy.

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With the centralized delivery approach, management who have the task of delivering the service can respond more promptly to the security and confidentiality of sensitive data
- Franco Pedrazzini

Head of IT

Carlo Poma Healthcare Trust

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