IBM, NoMachine and Novell solution provides hospital patients personal
desktops at fraction of energy and maintenance costs of PCs, says
Glendale Adventist Medical Center
IBM, NoMachine and Novell have announced that Glendale Adventist Medical Center (GAMC) has improved the experience of its hospital patients by delivering email and Web access bedside, while saving significant information technology (IT) maintenance and energy costs.
The hospital installed personal computing stations in 65 rooms of its West Tower, enabling patients to surf the Internet, communicate with friends and family through social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and research medical information about their condition.
The hospital estimates that the energy efficient "thin client" computer monitors running "in a cloud" saves 60 percent in electricity costs versus stand-alone PCs. Because the brain of the computer is centralized, not local, the hospital receives 96 percent fewer maintenance calls to hospital rooms versus the hospital's stand-alone PCs, and saves 98 percent on IT support.
Hospital patients have responded enthusiastically to their bedside desktops, and the hospital sees this service as a way to attend to the patient's emotional needs and stand out from competitors. Some patients use the computers to blog about their hospital stay or update CarePages, popular patient Websites and blogs that connect patients with chronic illnesses to their friends and families.
"Just as easily as Glendale Adventist Medical Center provides patients with TVs at bedside, now we provide personal computing," said Roger Pruyne, senior programmer/analyst and project manager for the GAMC Patient Computing project. "The solution from NoMachine, Novell and IBM has delivered fantastic results for patients and the IT team. Considering our patients' positive feedback, we're looking to expand the project to other Adventist Health hospital locations."
GAMC says it also plans to extend its use of virtual desktops for employee and clinical use in the future. For more than 100 years, GAMC in Glendale, California, has been on the leading edge of medical technology. The hospital offers a wide range of advanced services, including many that are normally available only in major university-affiliated hospitals.
Using virtualized Linux desktops has kept the costs of the patient service low while maintaining a high level of privacy and security. Updates and maintenance to the software can be made on a centralized server by the hospital's IT staff, while no data is left on the local client monitor after the patient checks out of the hospital room. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop from Novell is the operating system that
virtualizes the 65 desktops. NoMachine, creator and global distributor of NX desktop and application delivery software, provides complete and efficient remote access. An IBM System x3650 server provides the back-end computing system, and IBM experts also advised GAMC on the project's design.
"Glendale Adventist Medical Center has found a healthy balance of new patient services and lower IT costs," said Inna Kuznetsova, director of IBM Linux strategy. "With Web access to friends and family, Glendale's virtual Linux desktops are
improving its patients' real hospital experience."
The NoMachine NX system provides easy set-up and installation, reducing the need for software support and technical assistance, enabling a smooth deployment of the in-hospital remote desktop solution for patients. NX's data encryption allows the secure transfer of confidential information and patient records.
"An important feature of this project is NX's ability to enable a connection over any type of network, including low-bandwidth and dial-up," said Sarah Dryell, business development manager for NoMachine. "NX's unique compression and caching features also provide a seamless remote connection from the thin client to the server, giving the patients the feel of being on their own personal computer, while reducing power consumption and support costs."
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