The Digital Workspace and Healthcare’s Mobile Focus

Digital transformation is driving change across every industry. Companies are seizing opportunities offered by business mobility—powered by the digital workspace—to streamline processes, enhance customer experiences, and increase revenues. In healthcare, executives are looking to the digital workspace to unleash the potential of mobile devices and provide secure, flexible, and identity-based access to patient data and treatment plans across different medical teams and locations.

VMware is interested in discovering more about how healthcare organizations, among others, are faring as they undergo digital transformation. So, in July 2016, the company conducted its second annual survey of global business decision makers and IT practitioners to gauge progress and explore the challenges. More than 1,500 respondents, including 280 from healthcare organizations, provided information about their digital workspace journeys.

The findings are presented in the VMware State of the Digital Workspace Report.

The Power of the Digital Workspace
Healthcare organizations recognize the potential of mobile devices to provide flexibility for both caregivers and patients. Secure single sign-on (SSO) across workstations, tablets, and smartphones means that clinicians can review charts, X-rays, and care plans from anywhere on any device, spending more time face-to-face with patients rather than chasing down information. Patient-focused apps allow those receiving care to monitor their own progress, whether that’s reminding them to take medication during a hospital stay or tracking diabetes indicators in their own homes, giving patients more input and control.

Easy-to-use digital workspace platforms allow healthcare organizations to meet key technology goals, including sharing critical information seamlessly and securely.

How Do Healthcare Organizations Measure Up?
There are no significant differences among the digital initiatives that healthcare organizations are implementing when compared to other industries. All organizations focus on upgrading infrastructure to support mobile, leveraging the cloud for file sharing, and shifting to new desktop architectures, for example, but healthcare executives do report more business benefits from mobile initiatives.

For 7 out of the 10 benefits measured, healthcare organizations report benefits at a higher rate than in other industries, including the ease of provisioning end users, the ease of rolling out new mobile apps, and better user access to mission-critical applications (see infographic below).

Security Remains a Challenge
A regulated industry, healthcare also faces tougher challenges implementing mobile than many other industries. The survey revealed that healthcare organizations are more concerned with complexity, data loss, control over mobile users, and lost productivity than others.

Not surprisingly, given the sensitive, sometimes life-and-death nature of healthcare information and increasingly stringent regulations surrounding the use of technology and data, security is a prominent, executive-level concern.

Almost 50 percent of healthcare executives cite security as a reason for limiting investment in digital workspace technology. Security concerns also limit the deployment of bring your own device (BYOD) or choose your own device (CYOD) programs in healthcare organizations, with 64 percent citing this as the main factor compared with 58 percent across all industries (see infographic below).

Digital Workspace Technology Helps Mitigate Security Risks
Healthcare organizations continue to press on with business mobility and digital workspace initiatives, despite these very real challenges. In particular, the need for increased security and compliance is driving healthcare organizations toward more sophisticated technology solutions. Healthcare executives see security and compliance tools as vital components for any effective digital workspace platform, and the healthcare sector includes the most companies (34 percent) actively evaluating or piloting identity management software.

Identity management software is the most effective tool to control and protect access to apps, systems, and data. It ensures—through mechanisms including SSO, policy-based access controls, and authentication—that clinicians and patients only have access to the data or programs necessary for them. Healthcare organizations look to identity management software to provide full visibility into all the activity on their systems, and ensure the accuracy of compliance reporting.

What’s Next for Healthcare Technology?
Healthcare investment in digital workspace solutions is increasing, and leaders will continue to deploy the digital workspace to overcome challenges and power transformation. Ever-changing regulations and the demand for information access via mobile devices from both caregivers and patients will drive investment in new technology solutions. VMware expects the focus to be on solutions like the digital workspace, which unifies user, desktop, and mobile device management across clinical environments in a secure and streamlined way.

For more information about how healthcare organizations are advancing on their digital workspace journeys, download the “Spotlight on Healthcare” infographic, and download the full State of the Digital Workspace Report 2016.Digital Workspace infographic