Dell, VMware Collaborate on Mobile, Virtual EHR Technology

Dell's Mobile Clinical Computing platform is powered by Meditech's health care software, along with security and virtualization applications from VMware and Imprivata.

Dell has rolled out its Mobile Clinical Computing platform, which runs Meditech's electronic health record applications, as well as VMware's Sphere and View virtual desktop infrastructure.

Dell will provide hardware such as laptops or tablets for the MCC platform, while its partners provide the software, virtualization and security technology. Meditech has about a 30 percent marketing share in EHR software in the United States and 50 to 60 percent in Canada, according to VMware.

"One of the top pain points for virtually every health care CIO involves managing clinical and administrative desktops," Peter Stone, vice president and general manager of the Meditech Solutions Group within Dell Services, said in a statement. "PC client issues strain otherwise carefully deployed health care enterprise applications and can hinder adoption of advanced clinical software."

VMware View allows doctors to call up patient records on any device within a secure, virtual environment, and then delete the information after the session without storing the data locally.

Using the MCC platform, doctors are now able to finish up their work at home on a tablet such as an Apple iPad or Dell Streak tablet in a secure environment, Frank Nydam, VMware's director of health care solutions, told eWEEK.

In addition, the virtualization capabilities of VMware Sphere and View allow IT workers to fix any software problems remotely instead of traveling to the doctor's office or the hospital.

"Folks don't have to visit the hospital, which may be two floors down, two miles or two plane rides away," Nydam said. "They simply need to fix the desktop from their one pane of glass, from their data center and redeploy the new one."

The MCC setup is an improvement for doctors over local desktops, which have a host of security and patient privacy issues, Nydam noted.

"That technology unfortunately has reached the end of its life cycle, and it has become so complicated to support that back-end system that hospitals are saying I want the best of both worlds," he explained. "I want the feel and experience of a local desktop, yet I want it delivered from my back-office data center like Citrix has."

The Dell MCC is also a way to free health care workers from their desks by taking advantage of new mobile technology, such as tablets.

"With tablets, iPad, Dell Streak, this consumerization of IT has really driven doctors to say how come I can't have this same experience in the hospital as I can simply have at home with a consumer device," Nydam said.

The MCC platform announced on April 11 also includes Imprivata's OneSign Single Sign-On and Forward Advantage's API integration, which provides advanced authentication devices for e-signatures.

With this type of security, the MCC should bring less risk of data breaches, according to Nydam.

"It addresses that last critical mile of EMR CPOE [computerized physician order entry] delivery to the caregiver-that last mile of reliability," Nydam said.

The MCC infrastructure could also bring cost savings to clinicians by using a thin client, he added.

"Secure virtual desktops are particularly advantageous in health care, where users are heavily reliant on roaming sessions, fast workflows and shared workstations," Dr. Barry Chaiken, chief medical officer at Imprivata, said in a statement. "With MCC for Meditech, we are changing the way doctors and nurses access data by providing one touch secure roaming for fast access to patient information at their fingertips-from any workstation or thin client."

In December, VMware announced another collaboration with Imprivata and Meditech, on a virtual desktop infrastructures at Northern Hospital of Surry County, in Mount Airy, N.C.