VMware Unveils vCloud for Health Care Systems

VMware has combined its existing vCloud and Horizon Suite products into a common infrastructure to ease the health care industry's move to the cloud.

VMware has introduced vCloud for Healthcare, a combination of the company's existing products that provides an always-on platform and allows health care organizations to transition to a hybrid cloud.

Announced on Feb. 28, vCloud for Healthcare integrates VMware's vCloud Suite and Horizon Suite. It allows doctors to access information seamlessly at the point of care in an exam room or when using "critical care" systems in an emergency room.

By using the end-to-end platform, providers can perform diverse tasks such as converting from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-9 diagnosis code to ICD-10, or using virtual cloud services to connect multiple providers in an accountable care organization (ACO), said Nydam.

Horizon Suite provides a way to virtualize sessions and connect doctors to electronic health records (EHRs) or computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems from any device.

"vCloud for health care is a solutions framework that takes our existing vCloud enterprise suite and our newly announced end-user Horizon Suite and provides a set of prebuilt solutions and service offerings to show customers how you can leverage those technologies to solve health care problems," Frank Nydam, director of health care business development at VMware, told eWEEK.

By connecting to the cloud through vCloud, VMware says health care organizations will be able to securely deploy EHRs to meet Stage 2 of the federal government's meaningful-use guidelines and improve patient outcomes.

"Health care has a lot on its plate, and we can take all these products, integrate them together and show how they work specifically from a health care provider point of view," said Nydam.

After some research on what type of cloud architecture its customers are looking for in health care, VMware determined that health organizations are interested in private clouds.

"With the cloud in health care, we hear I'm not ready to do the public cloud—I need private first," said Nydam. "We build security industry compliance right into the vSphere platform, meaning when VMs [virtual machines] run on top of this, we can run a report on the VM and say do these meet with HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] compliance standards [or] do these meet with PCI standards."

VMware's HIPAA Compliance Checker enables doctors to comply with HIPAA.

"Customers are saying a cloud needs to be able to provide desktop or point of care services," said Nydam. He added that a cloud should also be able to provide mobility and collaboration services for smartphones and cloud storage services such as Dropbox.

Health care providers want a cloud platform that can handle systems analytics and active business intelligence to get a holistic view of data in EHRs and picture archiving and communication systems (PACS). It provides a common cloud infrastructure to share patient information securely inside and outside of medical facilities to enable providers to coordinate care, said Nydam.

vCloud for Healthcare also integrates AlwaysOn Point of Care, an application that allows doctors to provide secure authentication through the touch of a finger or tap of a badge before accessing data in the cloud.

In addition, users can deploy, monitor and scale health care applications using the vFabric Application Director, a cloud-based provisioning and maintenance platform.