VMworld Case Study: CharterCARE Health Partners Leverages Cloud and VDI to Aid Digital Records Management and Regulatory Compliance
VMworld Case Study: CharterCARE Health PartnersLeverages Cloud and VDI to Aid Digital Records Managementand Regulatory ComplianceTranscript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast from VMworld 2011 on how a large health-careorganization is using the cloud and virtualization to put vital data into the hands of employees.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Sponsor: VMwareDana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BrieﬁngsDirect podcast series coming to you in conjunction with the VMworld 2011 Conference. Im Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and I’ll be your host throughout this series of VMware-sponsored BrieﬁngsDirect discussions. [Disclosure: VMware is a sponsor of BrieﬁngsDirect podcasts.] Our next VMware case study interview focuses on CharterCARE Health Partners and how virtualized desktops and thin clients are helping with digital records management and healthcare industry compliance and privacyrequirements.Well learn how Rhode Island-based CharterCARE has embraced private cloud and virtualdesktop infrastructure (VDI) to support its distributed, 579-bed community-based health system.The organization operates the Roger Williams Medical Center, Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, and several other caregiver facilities. Well hear how the tag team of private cloud and VDI has provided better data management, security, reliability, and regulatory auditing capabilities. The infrastructure modernization has also helped CharterCARE moveto electronic patient records and has helped improve their processes for clinicians.Here to dig into more detail on the CharterCARE IT infrastructure improvement story, is AndyFuss, Director of Technology and Engineering at CharterCARE Health Partners. Welcome to theshow, Andy.Andy Fuss: Well, thank you very much. Good to be here.Gardner: Im interested why data management has been a primary driver for you, as youvelooked to adopt both the private cloud and VDI. What is it about the data equation that’s madethis look like a good solution for you?Fuss: We need our data to be accessible everywhere, at every time, no matter what provider is atwhat facility. Even from an engineering and technology standpoint, no matter what system
analyst, what network engineer may sit down wherever they are to troubleshoot an issue, weneed that common set of tools.Common repositoryWe need the common repository of information for a caregiver. That would be the electronic medical information. It could be the x-rays, the slides, the CT scans, or the results that were dictated by a radiologist. Whatever it might be, that information needs to be available in a ﬂexible manner and delivered directly to the deskside experience. Now, if that’s a desktop, it needs to be on a regular PC, but if were talking about a tablet, we need to accommodate the tablets that people bring in and have come into the facility and are now actively being used, or zero client technology.We have all the different technologies and pieces. Were trying to promote these pieces to be usedand trying to be ﬂexible with accommodating them and getting people to the information thatthey need so they can take care of the ﬁrst priority, which really is patient care.Gardner: Tell me about the extent of your distributed campus and environment. Not only areyou dealing with many different types of data and many different endpoints, but youre alsodistributing this across a multitude of different environments.Fuss: Absolutely. We have two main acute hospitals that were dealing with. We have a nursinghome, a cancer center, outpatient care ofﬁces, and several different ofﬁces all around thecommunity. So the data truly needs to not be resident in one spot.We also needed to have a secured disaster recovery (DR) facility, so that if anything were tohappen to our primary data center that’s on one of the campuses, we could ﬂex seamlessly over.So building a cloud for us made total sense. That cloud hovers between one of two data centers.One is at one of the acute facilities, and then 100 miles away in another state, we have anotherdata center. Our cloud roams between the two, and we have data ﬂowing from each area.So the connection really is no longer about where it’s physically located by any restriction. It’smore of just gaining access to the internet and being able to make connections. Where youreaccessing that data from or where youre using it is seamless to the end user and provides a solidcustomer experience.Gardner: Youve used the term cloud, and as you know, many people have differing descriptionsand deﬁnitions for cloud. When you talk about this moving back and forth across facilities thatreally to me gets as the heart of what I think of as private cloud. Maybe you could ﬁll us in. Whatdo you mean by private cloud in this case, and why is that important for you to manage it in sucha dynamic way?
Fuss: Private cloud, by its very deﬁnition, would be that data just roams around between oneplace and another. So the cloud is just out there.I tell people to look up in the sky. You might see a rabbit in the cloud, you might see aVolkswagen Bus, or it might be a turtle dove, whatever the image that comes to your head is.That’s really what the data is. It’s just moving, but you can always see it and it’s always there.Same principleTake the same principle. Were doing the daydreaming and making animals in the sky as you didwhen you were a kid laying in the middle of the ﬁeld. You know where the data is. You know therestrictions of where the cloud rolls to. So the security factor is there.But you also know that you can access it, whether it be from your home, whether it’s fromMcDonald’s, if youre stopping for a Happy Meal with the kids and you need to access somecritical piece of data, or whether it’s anywhere else that you are. That data is always ready,always available, always online, and always secure.One of the primary concerns for our electronic medical record is that it’s patient data, ﬁnancialdata, PCI, and HIPAA. All the different compliance standards that we need to abide by are allsatisﬁed with the ways that these machines are locked down, by the way the cloud is moving,and where we allow it to move to.There are a lot of people who can embrace different types of clouds. Youve got hybrid clouds,private clouds, public clouds, all with different offerings. For us it made sense to do a privatecloud. For others, it may make sense to do hybrid type cloud.As we move towards the future, I can see that we might be able to ofﬂoad some of our servicestowards the public cloud. As we increase the size of some of our data and we have patient carecut over to the side, there might be some other data that does not follow the same guidelines. Wecan put that into a secure public cloud and attach everything.VMware is coming out with those tools and using those tools to make that kind of continuationproject possible to look at. Were very excited about some of the initiatives that weve seen atVMworld -- the vCloud Director, with security, the different layers built into that that couldmake some of the public cloud usable for us for speciﬁc applications.Gardner: Some folks deal with security and think of the public cloud only, but it sounds as ifyour private cloud has allowed you to improve security, gain control, and deliver this data asneeded to a variety of devices not in a stateful, but in a stateless way so that you can control theaccess. Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds as if private cloud to you means better security?
Fuss: Oh, it does, most deﬁnitely. Im no longer worried about the endpoint device walking awayfrom us. Im not worried about theft of an individual device, because the device has nothing moreon it than some connectors to get somewhere.When we were ﬁrst embracing zero client technology in a lot of places, we did some studies. Wetalked to some different people who had already embraced it. One particular hospital I spoke tosaid they had on video someone stealing a zero client device, perhaps thinking that they hadstolen some great new utility tool for home, a new PC. They were all excited.They also have them on video, bringing it back the next morning, because they couldn’t doanything with it when they got to their house. Using cloud, using the technologies that ride in thecloud, like VMware View and access to the data through VMware View, really helps to lockthings down and it helps to prevent things.No data leakageIn the past, somebody could have taken a PC, and let’s say that PC could have had metadata onit or could have had some ﬁles on it that were saved in someway. It was comical to hear thatstory from another person who was in a similar situation as us, where there was no data loss ordata leakage, even if that device had never come back. So the cloud really has tightened thingsdown for us.Gardner: And the cloud wouldn’t have the security beneﬁts if it weren’t for the VDI and thatzero client beneﬁt. So are they separate to you, are they intrinsically linked, symbiotic? How doyou view private cloud and VDI -- separate, distinct, together? What’s the relationship?Fuss: Theyre deﬁnitely together. They have to be together. In my opinion, it’s what makes sense.We want to see the data tight. We want to see the integration tight. We can have a cloud wherethe data roams back and forth, but the connection into the cloud actually uses that data.As I sit here on a device, a personal device at the ofﬁce that is connected to my virtual desktopinstance, this device doesnt even have to be on my network. Im utilizing a public network thatwe have here at the hospital system and Ive connected into my virtual desktop. I have fullaccessibility. Ill ﬂip over here in a few minutes when I go into another meeting. Ill bring myiPad with me, another personal device, and Ill be connected right to that same virtual desktop.So the cloud has allowed me, with View, to seamlessly move between all these different devices.I no longer am tied to something. Im no longer tied to a speciﬁc physical location, a physicalanything. I really am completely mobile. I can work anywhere at any time and have that samecommon set of tools.It doesnt matter if Im working out of the DR site. I should no longer call it disaster recovery. Ishould call it our second data center because even though it really is 100 miles away, I can stillsit there and work all day long just like Im anywhere else. That ability is really the value thatusing a cloud and using View gives you.
I want a physician in his ofﬁce, out on the road or wherever they might be, at home, in a practicehave access to that same data and have a similar look and feel every time they connect fromwhatever device. Thats what these solutions that weve opted for have provided for us.Gardner: So the synergy between the private cloud and the VDI has provided you with betterdata management security adhesion and compliance requirements adhesion, and now youretalking about DR. So this is yet another snowball-like beneﬁt from adopting this particular kindof infrastructure. How far into the DR phase are you?Fuss: Were quite a bit down the road. Weve implemented SRM part of VMware. We wereexcited about the changes coming in SRM 5, but we still have our current implementationrunning. We can ﬂex our domain controllers over to the other data center. We actually do havesome servers running out of there -- hot like Ive said. Well be running all of our mail servers outof their -- hot -- very soon.Break away from locationBut the whole procedure, the whole concept, everything that were doing allows us not to focuson location, and thats the big thing. We break away from location. So where is the data center? Isit going to be affected by the next hurricane coming up the East Coast? Well, if we have a fear ofwhere the hurricane is, we can move our data center 100 miles inland. Or if we think that inlandis going to be more affected, we can keep it in Rhode Island, which is right on the ocean.So we have that ability, and nobody knows where that data is other than the IT department. Weknow its within the system, within the security, but nobody would ever notice the difference orquestion where the data is running or residing. They might ask, and we could tell them, butnobody says, "Wow, thats slow" or "I can see a difference." None of those kind of calls comes inas the cloud ﬂexes.Gardner: At VMworld, youve had a chance to look over View 5, I assume and the PC-over-IPbeneﬁts there; is that something that’s in your pipeline?Fuss: Absolutely. We’re blessed to be in the VMware 5 beta test user group and we’re lovingwhat we see. We like the performance. The PC-over-IP expansion is amazing. They’ve written agreat protocol there with their partners, and that is the technology that’s going to continue todrive the reinvention of the desktop.We’ve gone through the reinvention of the desktop a few times in my career, from somewhatdumb terminals to smart terminals to client server. We seem to be making our way back to wherewe’re keeping our data safe in data centers and in silos. We’re giving people a great end-userexperience to give them a full PC feature-set. We’re doing it all securely and we’re doing it allwith products that integrate seamlessly with one another, and that’s really the goal.
We want the user to sit down and feel comfortable with whatever technology they use, and tohave a way to take care of our patients that need our help and take care of what other importantadministrative business they may do, so we can keep moving forward.Gardner: Lets look at how the end-user experience is beneﬁting you. When your clinicianshave the opportunity to reach this data through a variety of different endpoints regardless ofwhere they are, how have they adapted to that? How have they made that a part of an improvedprocess or adapted workﬂows that take advantage of that. Has that beneﬁted the organizationappreciably?Fuss: We can already see the expansion, the use of that technology in different areas. We havesome physicians with iPads working throughout the facility, visiting the patient’s bedsides,looking at their charts, all that kind of ﬂex room is great.Ive seen it in our administrative areas, our human resource ofﬁcer using iPad remotely. We’vehad our Chief Information Ofﬁcer using an iPad, using a PC at home, and connecting through theView client to her machine.We’ve gotten support not just from forcing the technology out there, but by people asking for thetechnology. That’s how you can tell you have a good product. People asking, "Can I be moved tothis new product, because the ﬂexibility of my supervisor, director, whoever is using is what Ineed."Hit a home runIf the director calls saying, "I need this employee to have this ﬂexibility," you know youve hit ahome run with the technology. I haven’t had anybody call asking for another PC at anotherlocation for the same person to work. I have people calling saying, "I really need to get themonto this technology as soon as it’s possible, because its made this employee so efﬁcient. I needto do that for everybody else."So the beneﬁts are there, and they’re just growing now, as its integrated and being used more inthe clinical areas. We’ve seen some growth recently. Even our pharmacy staff is starting to carryiPads around, when they’re doing inventories of some of the medication machines and being ableto get that information right there, but on a device that’s secure. If they were to leave it behind,nobody could connect to anything, and that data all sitting safe inside the data center.So the adoption is there, the beneﬁts are already there, and its just growing and growing. Everytime I turn around, we’re bumping another 50, another 75, virtual machines, into another pool ofmachines for a new purpose, and that’s the expansion that I keep wanting to encourage.Gardner: That’s a very intriguing story, and Im really impressed with how youve been able totake these modernization activities for infrastructure, put them into real-world use, and expandthat very rapidly throughout your organization.
We’ve been talking about how virtualized desktops and thin clients are helping with digitalrecords management and healthcare industry compliance and privacy requirements. We’ve beendiscussing this with Andy Fuss. He is Director of Technology and Engineering at CharterCAREHealth Partners. Thanks so much for your time and insights, Andy.Fuss: Thank you. Pleasure being here.Gardner: And thanks to our audience for joining this special podcast coming to you inconjunction with the 2011 VMworld Conference.Im Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host throughout this series ofVMware-sponsored BrieﬁngsDirect discussions. Thanks again for listening, and come back nexttime.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Sponsor: VMwareTranscript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast from VMworld 2011 on how a large health-careorganization is using the cloud and virtualization to put vital data into the hands of employees.Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.You may also be interested in: • Tampa Bay Rays Hit Home Run with Virtualization that Enables Tablet Applications Delivery in the Field • VMwares Carl Eschenbach on the Scope and Depth of Cloud Computing and How CIOs Will Have to Adapt • VMworld Showcase: How ADP Dealer Services beneﬁts from VMware View in its expanding use of desktop virtualization • VMworld Case Study: City of Pittsburghs IT success and the beneﬁcial synergy between virtualized servers and desktops • From VMworld, Cosmetics Giant Revlon Harnesses the Power of Private Cloud to Produce Impressive Savings and Cost Avoidance • From VMworld, NYSE Euronext on Hybrid Cloud Vision and Strategy Behind the Capital Markets Community Platform Vertical Cloud