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VDI helps Australian agency give blood

The problem: The National Blood Authority is a statutory agency that provides blood products to healthcare facilities in Australia. Australia’s geography makes blood delivery challenging: The country is comparable to the continental U.S. in size and has remote areas hundreds of miles from the coastal population centers. Maintaining adequate blood supplies is a life saver when it can take a couple of days to transport blood to some regions. The authority’s staff, however, wasn’t able to access blood data when working remotely. As a result, personnel would spend days or weeks preparing data before leaving the office. The data was often out of date by the time it was used.

The Technology: The authority decided to upgrade its IT, deploying virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) on hyper-converged appliances from Nutanix. The VDI environment, which replaces a storage-area network, runs blood management and patient registry systems. VDI provides secure remote access, so authority staff can log into the agency’s systems when they are working outside the office at remote clinics or other locales. Staff members can obtain up-to-date data “on the spot, in real time,” noted Peter O’Halloran, the authority’s CIO. That real-time access means agency personnel are better prepared to help healthcare facilities optimize blood inventory levels.

The Results: More timely data in the field has helped the authority avoid blood wastage costs to the tune of about $10 million per year. The revamped infrastructure, meanwhile, also saves 34 minutes per week on log-in times and reduces the time spent on pre-trip data and document preparation. The savings contributed to a pay-back period within the first five months of installation. “The availability of real-time, remote access to the information — as enabled by VDI technology — and the productivity improvements delivered by VDI” are the primary reasons “we delivered the wastage reduction and enhanced efficiencies,” O’Halloran said.