Parkland: A Hospital Built for the Future

Parkland Health & Hospital System has long been a Dallas, Texas, institution. Opened in 1894, it is the Dallas County safety net healthcare provider for much of the city’s uninsured and underserved populations. In 1954, Parkland moved from its original site at Oak Lawn and Maple avenues to the Harry Hines location that served the community for nearly six decades. But as it approached its 60th year, it was clear that the hospital had outgrown its second location.

The physical and technical constraints of an aging building made it increasingly difficult to keep pace with modern medical technology capabilities and infrastructure. The decision was made to replace the entire structure with a new Parkland Memorial Hospital that would be designed from the ground up to accommodate the most advanced technology today—and for the next 60 years.

One of the First Truly Digital Hospitals

To achieve this long-term goal, planning for the new hospital incorporated support for the needs of the most advanced current technology, including wireless interconnectivity, to ensure that Parkland would be able to keep pace with new technology developments for decades to come.

Proof that the new Parkland met those goals came with its opening in 2015. With just a few emergency exceptions, the new hospital is 100 percent digital. It is filled with technology that did not even exist when the planning process began in 2008.

A Foundation Built on VMware VDI

The new hospital’s technology infrastructure uses the VMware virtual desktop solution. According to Matthew Kull, senior vice president and CIO of Parkland, virtual desktop technology has enabled a number of benefits for the hospital.

“What’s most exciting about this transition to digital healthcare,” says Frank Nydam, VMware’s healthcare CTO, “is that it doesn’t require massive new changes to infrastructure. Virtualization, the advent of the software-defined data center (SDDC), gives hospitals the flexibility they need to add new capabilities while leveraging legacy systems as needed.”

All of the hospital’s point-of-care areas use client terminals running off a VMware virtual desktop in the Parkland data center. The VMware platform provides physicians and other care providers a “tap-and-go” solution. The caregiver just has to tap a screen and then turn and immediately interact with the patient. There is no distance or separation between the nurse or physician and the patient.

What Parkland demonstrates, Nydam concludes, “is that technology can help today’s healthcare professionals work smarter and more effectively and give patients more timely, personalized care.” For Parkland, the proof of that statement is in the care being provided today, and for decades to come.

Read an interview with Matthew Kull in “Health Management Technology.”