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Virtualization In Healthcare: To Be Or Not To Be?

August 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm PST

Virtualization continues to be a hot topic in the healthcare industry with many industry pundits calling this technology a potential game-changer.  There seems to be a lot of excitement around how this technology can help the healthcare industry in terms of cost optimization and efficiencies. Some of the key virtualization drivers include the move towards electronic medical records (EMR) deployment, support for increasing number of mobile devices, and providing secure access to patient-sensitive data to authorized individuals (HIPAA compliance).  

I do believe that healthcare organizations have much to gain by embracing virtualization in their networks, data centers, and end-user workspaces, but they must have complete confidence that benefits can be achieved without compromising core requirements for clinicians, administrators, and IT.  In order to build this confidence, one must clearly articulate the “incremental” return on investment for adopting virtualization technology.  I have seen and heard several bold claims as to how virtualization is going to transform the healthcare industry but yet those very claims are light on how it’s truly going to help healthcare organizations be “incrementally” better.  I keep emphasizing “incremental” because that is the true value-add customers are looking for in order to justify their investments.  In today’s macro environment, everyone is being tasked to do more with less. 

In most healthcare environments, clinical and administrative applications are client-server based.  Often a nurse or a doctor who has to enter data into an application ―for instance, an EMR application― does so from a shared workstation. This task starts with the user identifying himself/herself through a secure login process that can take anywhere from 1 to 2 minutes. After entering the data, the user often immediately logs out, leaving the station available for the next user.  In an average healthcare setting, clinicians will repetitively access such workstations for data entry, sometimes as often as 50 to 70 times per shift.  The cumulative productivity loss can add up to about an hour (60 times, with a 1-minute login procedure each time). The nurse or the doctor could use this time more productively by meeting with patients or other clinicians and increasing the number of patients they can see.  This is just one example where virtualization could provide the “incremental” value-add by significantly cutting the productivity loss, which has a direct positive impact on patient experience. 

Healthcare industry is at an interesting cross-road due to the confluence of virtualization and cloud computing.  Several healthcare organizations are viewing virtualization as a stepping stone in their cloud journey. Increasing number of healthcare applications are being used in a virtualized environment – either at server level or desktop/mobile level.  This is resulting in simplified clinical workflows and providing nurses and physicians with fast access to the applications and information they need, wherever they are, to support positive patient outcomes.  Over the subsequent blogs, I will articulate how Cisco virtualization platform is providing the “incremental” value-add that gives the healthcare organizations the complete confidence they need to embrace this capability.  Until then, stay tuned.

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Virtual Symposium: Virtual Machine Networking

July 20, 2012 at 8:52 am PST

I am happy to announce another Virtual Symposium, this time on the topic of virtual machine networking.  We will be holding it on July 25th from 9am to 10am Pacifc Time.

Beyond our usual panel of Greg Ferro, Steven Foskett, Ivan Pepelnjak and yours truly, we will be joined on the panel by Marko Milivojevic (@icemarkom), David Davis (@davidmdavis) and perhaps a couple of other folks.

We have settled on the 60 min format.  The panel will share some initial thoughts, but we will devote most of the time to answering questions from the audience, either through the WebEx Q&A tool or via the #VirtSyn tag.

To register, go here.

See you there.

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Your Cloud Journey and Roadmap with Intelligent Automation for Cloud (Part 3 of a 4 part series “Who moved the IT cheese while I was getting production back up?”)

Part 2 -- How Agile is your Cloud?

Part 1 -- The End of Big IT Architecture

(with contributions from my teammates Mike Eisenstein and Jim Kao)

This blog guides you through the considerations after you have taken the first step in your Journey to Cloud with the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition.

Once you have deployed the Starter Edition, you can take some time to experience the benefits and begin to start noting where you need your company’s cloud roadmap to go next.   What are the key things that you, your business, your users, and your operations need to take them to the next level?  Many of these will be in the next edition from Cisco, others will require building an integration into a system that is critical such as your ERP environment to enable chargeback.  Let’s break the discussion in some key areas:

Compute

Starter Edition works with UCS and vCenter.  While Cisco would like to see your entire datacenter filled with UCS and Nexus, we do realize that you may have other vendors on your approved buying list.  You may decide you want to leverage your Cloud Portal, Process Orchestrator, and Server Provisioner across a number of computing hardware vendors.   We have customers who provision both physical and virtual servers across Cisco and other vendors.  It is one of most common heterogeneous integrations that we do.  This allows the end user to order compute as a service with little regard to which flavor the physical server is.

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Realizing Business Virtualization with Everything-as-a-Service

From the IT Executive Symposium at Cisco Live 2012

I think the enterprises of the future will look very different from those of today. Organizations will become leaner and more virtualized as their business processes grow more reliant on ecosystem partners. Process boundaries will transcend a specific entity.

Many macroeconomists believe that real shareholder value (and, ultimately, economic growth) will be driven by the speed and quality of innovation.  Historically, enterprises have been successful by capitalizing on a disruption (market transition) that plays into their core strengths, competency, and market position. Read More »

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Cisco Live DCV Social Media Activities: Connect to Your Community

June 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm PST

Cisco Live 2012 is almost here. Hello San Diego! Time to make the difficult decision regarding partitioning luggage space between  tech and clothes. The informal Twitter poll indicates tech is winning. Don’t forget the chargers, because there’s a lot going on.

Bacon and Waffles Tweetup on Tuesday!
Bacon and Waffles Tweetup on Tuesday!

Now that I’ve got your full attention, here’s a rundown of some of the social media activities happening at Cisco Live this year.

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