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August 2012 Volume 14

Tying a virtual desktop infrastructure to business needs

What does a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) have to do with clinical care? Plenty, when clinicians at Seattle Children's Hospital have about 20 minutes to assess a new patient, and as much as 10 minutes of that time is spent interacting with technology. "That's a significant distraction to what we do as a business," said Jake Hughes, the hospital's chief technical architect. By using a combination of desktop virtualization technologies, however, the time doctors and nurses spend logging on and off workstations has been reduced by 45 minutes a day. The need for speed isn't always mentioned as a benefit of virtualized desktops (IT departments talk mostly about eliminating management headaches and costs). But that is what Hughes and Wes Wright, vice president and chief technology officer at the hospital, set out to accomplish when they swapped out an old blade platform for Cisco Systems Inc.'s Unified Computing System (UCS) and replaced existing desktop workstations and laptops with zero clients from Wyse Technology Inc. On ...

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