How Is Secure Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) Reshaping the Way Healthcare Organizations Operate?

By Christian Boucher, Chief Healthcare Strategist/Evangelist, Citrix Healthcare Solutions

No industry was thrown into the chaos of the pandemic more than healthcare. Frontline medical staff had worked under tenuous conditions and caregivers pivoted to telehealth. But what about the vast workforce that supports all the operations behind the scenes? When a large U.S.-based network of 17 hospitals needed to roll out a secure remote work solution to nearly 40,000 employees, they answered this very question with advanced virtual technology.

At the preliminary stages of the pandemic, the large hospital network was not set up for a widely dispersed remote workforce. Their leadership team knew they needed to equip office employees with a secure way to remotely access their files and apps.

The hospital reviewed different options such as virtual private networks (VPN), but they opted for a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) approach because it secures any type of app or desktop from the cloud to any device. DaaS allows the hospital’s IT team to deliver all the applications, files, and tools that an employee needs in a unified, personalized workspace, regardless of where people work or what device they use. What’s more, with a predictable subscription model, DaaS makes it easy to scale up or down on-demand.

Hospital leadership also purchased thousands of Chrome OS devices and enabled them with Citrix DaaS solutions because of their sound security attributes. Leadership then worked with HR to train and transition their newly remote workforce to the new technology. Everything worked seamlessly together, enabling remote patient advocates or other employees with secure access to all necessary apps and patient records.

Deploying a DaaS Solution

As it was discussed at this year’s HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition, healthcare organizations adopting work-from-home (WFH) solutions are now relying on DaaS solutions since they are more reliable, secure, and scalable as opposed to technologies like VPNs.

With varying degrees of administrative and infrastructure management handled by a vendor, a highly scalable DaaS solution can be set up rapidly without a heavy lift from teams of on-site engineers. Additionally, some DaaS solutions offer built-in integration with major public cloud providers like Azure, AWS, or Google, in addition to allowing customers to leverage their own datacenter investments as well.  

While many non-clinical roles have transitioned to WFH, physicians and clinicians have also been impacted. There are countless stories of field hospitals being built over weekends and triage facilities taking over every space available at health systems across the world. Telehealth usage grew significantly during the initial periods of the pandemic and continues to see remarkable growth compared to pre COVID figures. Today, health networks remain focused on adapting to a drastically changed work environment for millions of employees at all levels of the organization. In fact, according to a recent study, 66% of knowledge workers1 have said it will be very important for them to work remotely – on any device – moving forward. 

IT Management Made Easy

DaaS solutions aren’t just a boon for employees- IT teams can easily manage the deployment as well. Administrative actions are pushed to thousands of devices within minutes and include delivering enterprise apps, updating security policies, and remotely wiping devices. Plus, zero-touch enrollment enables health organizations to rapidly scale operations by simply shipping devices directly to staff and configuring credentials from integrated cloud management consoles.

Trusted healthcare DaaS partners are working to ensure IT teams can rapidly deploy validated end-to-end software and hardware solutions that deliver the best experience for any employee within the healthcare organization. These strategic DaaS partners are constantly validating new apps, endpoints, and peripherals to ensure health organizations continue to have the maximum choice of validated solutions.

Long-Term Impact on Healthcare Organizations

The rapid change in how and where people do their jobs has prompted healthcare organizations to focus on innovation, and this shift in philosophy will serve as a strong catalyst for growth when this shift is embraced. Prior to COVID-19, only 9% of employees said their employer was introducing new ways of working. Since virtual work has become the norm, 78% of employees reported their employer was planning to or has already introduced new ways of working2

Healthcare organizations that embrace and adopt a DaaS-centric strategy will not only benefit in the short term, but they will be positioned as the category leaders of tomorrow as well.

About The Author: Christian Boucher, Chief Healthcare Strategist/Evangelist, Citrix Healthcare Solutions. Citrix builds the secure, unified digital workspace technology that helps organizations unlock human potential and deliver a consistent workspace experience wherever work needs to get done. With Citrix, users get a seamless work experience and IT has a unified platform to secure, manage, and monitor diverse technologies in complex cloud environments. For more information visit www.citrix.com

Appendix:

1: https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/off-site/the-state-of-security-in-a-hybrid-world.pdf 

2: https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/health-care/health-care-workforce-trends.html