One of the UK’s largest general hospital trusts uses Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops to save emergency room clinicians valuable time.
The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (RBFT) is one of the largest general hospital foundation trusts in the UK. Employing over 5,000 staff, it serves over one million people in Berkshire and south Oxfordshire, the trust provides acute medical and surgical services along with specialist services such as cancer, dialysis, and eye surgery.
“The big challenge for healthcare organisations is authentication and mobility,” says Director of IM&T Heather Allan. “We need to make information available quickly, wherever it’s required, while always ensuring that patient data is protected. We need IT to be an enabler and not a blocker that causes delay in patient care.”
It’s a situation that becomes most acute in the fast-moving environment of a busy hospital’s Emergency Department (ED).
“Logging into traditional PC terminals to access patient records was very slow,” explains Associate Director of Infrastructure Mike Robinson, “and often terminals were locked by other users, making it difficult for clinicians to quickly access the information they needed.”
To resolve this, and to give busy clinicians a better, more consistent experience, RBFT approached Platinum Citrix Solution Advisor Ultima. Ultima recommended a solution comprising Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Imprivata OneSign Virtual Desktop Access. This gives clinicians fast and simple, “tap and go” access to the apps and patient information they require. Desktop sessions are accessed from any available endpoint by tapping the clinician’s hospital ID badge on a terminal’s card reader.
“User experience is very important. ED clinicians expect their IT environments to be the same wherever they log in – consistency is vital – because they have no time to worry about which applications are available on a particular machine, or what order the icons appear in. They definitely don’t have time to call IT support,” Allan explains.
“The Citrix solution we put in place with Ultima solves all those problems. It's a 21st century platform which gives medical staff consolidated authentication through tap and go. It saves a massive amount of time in time-critical situations like drug dispensing. You don't want patients waiting for, say, morphine, while a doctor and his co-authorizing peer have their successive logins authenticated to dispense the drug. With the Citrix /Imprivata solution, it's seamless. It saves clinicians between 15 and 45 minutes per shift and, in a busy emergency department, a lot can happen in 15 minutes.”
The result, says Allan, “is not just faster decision making, but faster execution of tasks, too. That leads to improved patient care and better patient outcomes.”
David Clarke, Emergency Department Consultant at RBFT, agrees.
“With every clinician moving from pen to keyboard, we need rapid access to patient records and the Citrix / Imprivata solution gives us that. Moving from one terminal to another and having your desktop follow you is absolutely brilliant. In the emergency department, everything moves so quickly. You only have a limited amount of time per patient and anything you can do to make that more efficient allows you to see more patients and to spend more time with each patient. It's a better, more efficient use of doctors' precious time.”
“The speed and convenience of the Citrix and Imprivata solution drove a massive uptake in use, so we’re managing the transition without disrupting users,” Robinson explains. “And, Citrix’s system tools provide us with a better audit trail of activity.”
Citrix also makes it possible for users to securely access patient records and hospital applications remotely. In normal times, that makes it easy for a consultant to quickly login and check patient details, or to verify information. In a business continuity situation, such as the COVID-19 lockdown, it means that RBFT could quickly enable administrators and other staff to continue their work from home on personal devices.
General IT security and management are also enhanced. The Citrix environment is centrally controlled, allowing patches, updates, and policies to be applied to all virtual desktops across the estate. This ensures devices are updated with the latest security measures.
The Citrix solution used in the emergency department is generating its own demand. Consultants and specialists have been so impressed at the positive effect the solution has on their work, that they want it in their own departments as soon as they can.
“We’ve even seen people take a spare card reader back to their own department to try and make it work,” Robinson jokes.
The RBFT team and Ultima are currently working on a further roll-out that will double the number of users.
“We are on a journey to improve how technology supports clinicians across the trust,” says Allan. “Ultima has provided a strong partnership to date and the Citrix solution that they recommended is delivering to clinicians the information they need to make informed decisions. Ultimately, that gives patients confidence in the care they receive. And that, too, leads to better patient outcomes.”
The Citrix / Imprivata solution saves clinicians between 15 and 45 minutes per shift and, in a busy emergency department, a lot can happen in 15 minutes. The result is not just faster decision making, but faster execution of tasks, too. That leads to improved patient care and better patient outcomes.