VMware iPad App Keeps California Hospital Clinicians Connected

The VMware View application allows clinicians at Children's Hospital Central California to carry an iPad from room to room to view electronic health records on a virtual Windows interface.

Children's Hospital Central California plans to deploy the newly released VMware View Client for iPad to allow clinicians and staff to stay connected to their virtual Windows desktops anywhere in the building.

Located in Madera, Calif., Children's Hospital Central California is one of the 10 largest pediatric hospitals in the country.

VMware View is the first iPad app to enable Windows-based virtual desktops while also featuring PCoIP (PC-over-IP) display protocol, VMware reports. The application also incorporates custom gestures to allow clinicians to use the multitouch interface of the iPad.

On the iPad, users can access their virtualized desktop over WiFi or 3G. VMware View also includes an onscreen touch pad to ease navigation.

"The iPad could fundamentally change the way our clinicians and staff approach their IT needs," said Kirk Larson, chief information officer for Children's Hospital Central California, in a statement. "Now with VMware View Client for iPad, our caregivers can have the freedom to access a patient's electronic medical records anywhere in the hospital via an iPad on a secure VMware View desktop. This could not only improve patient care but may enable us to dramatically reduce costs and simplify device management."

Using VMware View on an iPad in a hospital is the result of an extensive evaluation of how clinicians use virtual desktops, Frank Nydam, VMware's director of health care solutions, told eWEEK.

The iPad will be a valuable tool for clinicians' CPOE (computerized physician order systems), he noted. Doctors use CPOE technology to enter instructions for patient treatment into a computer. "With our point-of-care [application], you can project that XP desktop out to the device of the clinicians' choice," he said.

At Children's Hospital Central California, children and dietitians in particular have been sold on using the iPad. "It's easier than opening up binders," Nydam said.

"Rather than carry two large binders around the hospital, doctors and staff will be able to consolidate their information by using the iPad," Robert Schellenger, network engineer for Children's Hospital Central California, said in a VMware company video.

Doctors like the iPad because its lighter and quicker than carrying a laptop and easier than locating a desktop, Larson said in the video.

In a recent study by research firm Aptilon, 70 percent of doctors' preferred the iPad over other tablet choices.

"It's something you can literally whip out of a lab coat pocket and be logged in within seconds," Larson said. "VMware View is actually the difference for us being able to deploy it or not being able to deploy it."

With VMware View's support of iPad gestures and the multitouch onscreen keyboard, older physicians who may not be accustomed to technology are having an easier time, Nydam said. The ease of use will accelerate CPOE adoption, he added.

The VMware View app, unveiled on March 9, takes a luxury item like a Porsche and makes it more usable, Nydam said. "You want to interact with it like an iPad rather than a TV screen," he said.

The pilot implementation of VMware View at the California hospital involves 250 seats and will soon be available to 1,800 workers out of the 3,000 users who need access, according to Nydam.

VMware View integrates with EMC's RSA SecurID technology, which allows for two-factor authentication. (RSA suffered a data breach on March 17, however.)

"Previously we did not see anything we felt comfortable with from a security perspective that would enable us to deploy an iPad," Larson said.