Leading the Business of Healthcare
RCM Advisor

Quarter 3 2020 - Volume 25, ISSUE 3

HBMA RCM Advisor: The Journal of the Healthcare Business Management Association


Scaling the Cloud

Taking your remote workforce to a higher level of capability through virtual desktop infrastructure optimization.

Before COVID-19 created a new reality in which everyone has become a remote worker—at least for the foreseeable future—various industry reports indicate that 30% of organizations already had a work-from-home strategy in place. While the current crisis accelerated the transition to remote working beyond the planning stage, the ultimate inevitability of more people working from home or remotely was a given.

There are several reasons for this inevitability, starting with the reality of the emerging digital world, where connecting from anywhere at any time is a fact of every day living in general.

The focus of this article is to provide you with an introduction to how the American workforce—including the healthcare industry—is evolving and how it can leverage these multiple access points through a virtual desktop solution.

A Place on the Map
With the increase in telehealth and the consumerization of technology, medical professionals are with greater frequency working from home. Despite the many benefits, working from home using personal systems to access information increases the risk of HIPAA violations, as one medical practice learned after exposing 50,000 patient records over a lost laptop.

One of the most immediate benefits of VDI is that it secures PII and corporate data by providing secure access to corporate applications on many devices. It also scales easily to meet increased work-from-home needs.

As a result, there is a growing recognition that an office is no longer only a place on the map. In other words, in reimagining the work environment, there is also the realization that coming together to share ideas and make business visions a reality does not require people to be in the same physical location.

However, and as stated earlier, such accessibility does require employees to have the ability to communicate and collaborate quickly, conveniently, and securely. Regarding timely and reliable access, while there is no doubt that the technological capability exists to accomplish that objective, there is also a variety of challenges, including IT-related.

Addressing and overcoming these challenges to mobilize a workforce regardless of industry sector is critical to not only “remote working” success, but the success in delivering a service or product through a highly motivated employee base.

For example, and according to research, with a proactive digital workplace initiative, an employee is six times more likely to feel empowered in their job. As a result, there is a higher level of engagement, job satisfaction, and increased productivity that translates into bottom-line success.

It is precisely at this point where a sound virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) strategy and solution comes into play.

Advertisement. Click on image to visit advertiser's website. Story continues below.

Starting With the Right Strategy
At the highest level, there are three critical touchpoints: a team solution, an adoption and change management plan, and a clear and functional policy regarding security.

Let us review each of these.

  • Teams Solutions: As previously stated, it is imperative to create a digital space that optimizes collaboration between your teams by augmenting their efforts with automated processes. This optimization involves a combination of utilizing the most advanced technologies, document creation process, project tracking, and secured access to data to empower your team to make better decisions faster.

  • Adoption and Change Management: Support for digital transformation efforts with reporting and insights for not only employee engagement and productivity, but also enabling your organization to maximize ROI on your technology investment is vital. Measurements include leveraging telemetry data to provide tech intensity and friction scores. Training for end users designed as online courses or in-person workshops are also a critical part of an adoption and change management process.

  • Security: Finally, ensuring the safety and security of corporate data and infrastructure in a world where teams come to work from anywhere on any device remains a top priority for any remote working initiative. An added incentive—not that there is a need for more motivation—is the emergence of new legislation regarding data privacy and the legal consequences of noncompliance.

Together, and in conjunction with your VDI solution partner, each of the above elements will enable you to establish a solid foundation for building a high-performing and secure remote working capability.

When we talk about high performing, according to Global Workplace Analytics President Kate Lister, one of the world’s leading authorities on the future of work, a “typical employer can save about $11,000/year for every person who works remotely half of the time.”1

Lister then talks about how these savings were multiplied exponentially during the COVID-19 crisis. Because employees could work from home, U.S. employers were able to save “over $30 billion a day in what would have otherwise been lost productivity resulting from office closures.”

To this point, we have been talking on a conceptual or strategic level. What does an “optimized” or best practice VDI solution look like in the real world?

In the following section, we will consider three different case scenarios.

A Healthy Connection
One of the largest providers of community healthcare services in North America is always looking for ways to improve access to treatment and healthcare outcomes for all patients in every community nationwide. Their efforts include continually learning and developing new ways of coordinating and delivering care.

At no other time has the importance of this commitment to finding new and effective ways of providing care been as critical as it is during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While social distancing measures are the key to containing the spread and flattening the curve, said rules also mean that the provision of needed healthcare services must adapt to this new reality.

Finding a way to meet the challenge of reducing risk and following best practices while continuing to provide treatment and support for all patient healthcare needs became a priority.

Utilizing the above best practices framework for VDI optimization, 7,000 of the provider’s healthcare professionals were fully operational on a remote basis within a relatively short window of time. Within a month, it added another 5,000, bringing the total to 12,000 healthcare professionals who will be able to manage 1,500 patient calls each day.

The impact of the pandemic also extended beyond the healthcare sector, as demonstrated by a global restaurant chain’s need to scale up its 700 employees worldwide to a remote working environment. Through their investment in VDI and cloud infrastructure, they were able to operate remotely and close the books on a pending quarter to ensure continuing compliance with their regulatory requirements.

There is also the case of the international charitable organization being able to transition its large and diverse workforce of 13,000 employees to a cloud environment. While not in response to an acute crisis scenario, the needs of the charity were no less demanding than those of the healthcare provider and restaurant chain.

In all three cases, and many similar ones, the same VDI framework proved to be equally effective.

Looking Ahead
Once again, referencing statistics from Global Workplace Analytics President Kate Lister, before COVID-19, 3.6% of the American workforce whose job was conducive to working from home did so more than 50% of the time. Further data indicates that “43% of employees work from home at least some of the time.”

On the surface, the above numbers may not seem significant. However, in a post-pandemic world, the expectation is that 25-30% of American employees who can work remotely will be “working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.”

So, the question is simply this: Is your organization ready to make a move the virtual working world?

Hopefully, this article has given you some much-needed insight into how the business world and American workforce is changing, and how VDI is helping to support its transformation.

If you would like to learn more about remote workforce solutions, please contact me at kris.spindler@Lvs1.com or 303-910-1021.

Kris Spindler is an experienced sales professional working in the information technology and services industry. Spindler is skilled in technology infrastructure, cloud and managed services, business planning, and digital transformation. For over 30 years, Spindler has helped organizations better understand how their technology investments can bring value to the business.

1 https://globalworkplaceanalytics.com/work-at-home-after-covid-19-our-forecast