Bolton NHS Foundation Trust has updated its ageing estate of desktop PCs by implementing Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop. The project will deliver secure desktops and virtual applications via thin-client terminals to clinicians and other hospital staff.
The roll-out has been part of the Trust's update of end-user computing as it moves to discontinue its use of old Windows XP-based hardware.
The organisation claims that login times have been reduced to just seconds and that users can easily retrieve sessions when they shift from one part of the hospital to another - for example, when they need shift from a consulting room to theatre.
In addition to accessing applications via thin-client terminals in hospitals and other Trust facilities, staff can also access the same desktop on personal PCs, tablets or smartphones. These locations, in some cases, will include patients' homes or anywhere within the Trust's area, at any time.
The organisation believes that the shift to thin clients will enable IT staff to save time and money by managing only a single desktop image, rather than multiple different desktops on individual machines. They can also centrally manage policies, profiles, security, software upgrades and patch management.
Within Trust premises, clinicians can access their applications and desktops on iGel thin-client terminals. The devices are enabled for single sign-on, provided by Imprivata, and terminals are equipped with RFID readers that enable users to tap their identity badges on the reader to instantly access their desktop session.
Unidesk is used for application management and AppSense is used to control user profiles and policies.
"We wanted to give staff a consistent user experience wherever they were: in the hospital, in community clinics or providing care in patient's homes. This is not just about technology as an enabler. It's not just about putting in faster machines. The Citrix virtual desktop has changed the way clinicians work," said Brett Walmsley, chief technology officer at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.
Consultant acute physician Dr Simon Irving claimed that the new thin-client approach had "made life so much easier".
He added: "All applications run much, much quicker and I can quickly log in to the terminal closest to the patient I am treating. Then there's the teaching aspect. I can work on a presentation in my office, walk to the seminar room, tap to login and there's my presentation, ready to go. No messing with pen drives, email or anything else."
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