Dell Gives Healthcare IT a Booster Shot

Dell on Monday made a slew of announcements that considerably beefed up its offerings for the healthcare IT industry.

These include a mobile clinical computing solution, virtualized systems, cloud-leveraging solutions and partnerships with several other vendors. The computer maker is also teaming up with retailer Sam’s Club.

Dell has been in the healthcare IT business for about 10 years, and the announcements are aimed at enhancing its offerings, company spokesperson Cathie Hargett told TechNewsWorld.

The new technologies come in time to take advantage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which, among other things, provides up to US$180 billion in federal funding to computerize Americans’ health records and increase the use of technology in the healthcare industry.

Doctors Without Technological Borders

Among the new offerings announced is Dell Mobile Clinical Computing Solutions. This lets physicians access patients’ records from any terminal using smart cards and Symantec’s Workspace Corporate product for single sign-on and secure authentication.

Symantec Workspace Corporate is part of the security vendor’s Endpoint Virtualization Suite, which securely manages applications in a virtualized environment.

“Physicians or caregivers can roam from room to room or device to device without interrupting their session,” Hargett said.

This capability is not entirely new, however. Sun Microsystems has offered roaming capabilities using smart cards and single sign-on access through its Sun Ray technology, both in the U.S. and worldwide, for several years now. U.S. Sun Ray customers in the healthcare field include Denver Health, which provides healthcare for a quarter of all residents of Denver, Colo.

On-Demand Desktop Streaming

Another element of Dell’s new lineup is On-Demand Desktop Streaming. This is for stationary environments where data management and security are critical. It consists of the Dell OptiPlex 755, FX160, 760 and 960 desktops; Optiplex 1950III and 2950 III servers, and Dell’s 6248 Switch, NF600 and SAN FE 600W storage solutions.

Virtual disk images will be streamed to desktops. This enhances security because users get a new, pristine image every time they boot up.

While Dell partners with VMware, Microsoft and Citrix for virtualization, it’s likely that Citrix has been picked for this solution, as it is based on streaming images to the desktop. However, Dell’s Hargett could not confirm that.

Virtual Remote Desktop

Virtual Remote Desktop offers centralized control and management of end-user devices while enabling personalized end-user desktops, access from any device — whether within our outside the corporate firewall — and session mobility, where a single desktop session can follow the user from one device to another.

The solution was developed in collaboration with Citrix. It consists of Citrix XenServer Dell Edition; Citrix Desktop Delivery Controller; Citrix Secure Gateway; and Citrix Provisioning Server.

Virtualization not only will help clients keep down costs but also will enhance security, since virtualized images work within a sandbox.

Dedicated Remote Workstation

IT admins can retain centralized control of end user data and network security through Dell’s Dedicated Remote Workstation.

It consists of the Dell Precision R5400, which is a standards-based rack workstation. The Dell FX100 remote access device and host card are optional. Dell claims it can extend capabilities for high performance computing (HPC) applications.

“We’ll work with whatever works best for the customer,” Hargett said.

Dell, Perot and the Cloud

In addition to Mobile Clinical Computing, Dell is teaming up with Perot Systems to provide virtualized desktop, storage, server and electronic health records on-premise, hosted off-site or in secure private clouds.

Perot Systems brings to the partnership a viewpoint that extends beyond the technology.

“Instead of looking at solutions as a technology challenge, we look at re-engineering the workflow and process from the clinical viewpoint,” Perot spokesperson Jonathan Moss told TechNewsWorld.

Perot also works with other major vendors in healthcare IT, such as IBM, HP and Sun. “We’re vendor-agnostic,” Moss said. “We work with whatever’s best for the client.”

Dell, Sam’s Club and eClinical Works

Dell is also offering up a solution for small medical practices, which make up the bulk of the healthcare system. For this, it’s partnering with eClinicalWorks and Sam’s Club.

eClinicalWorks offers integrated practice management and electronic medical records (EMR) functions, a patient portal, support for wireless tablets and PDAs, e-prescribing solutions, an SQL database, an XML architecture and a browser-based smart client.

Dell is teaming up with the provider to offer turnkey solutions to small medical practices on Sam’s Club’s Web site, said Hargett.

“Dell will integrate the eClinicalWorks EMR and clinical practice management software into the system, send the systems out to the practices and set them up, [and] work with eClinicalWorks to train the staff and the practice,” Hargett said. “eClinicalWorks will provide the software support and Dell the hardware support.”

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