VMware Healthcare Blog, November 2021, James Millington, Director of Product Marketing

Doctors and nurses want their patients to walk into the hospital confidently. Thanks (or no thanks) to Dr. Google, patients stride through the front door more informed, (or misinformed), than ever before. In order to best serve patients, hospitals must embrace the incredible technology available today to provide a holistic human health experience that will scale for the future. The three key drivers of healthcare digital transformation? Employees, patients and data.

1. Empower Remote Employees

The pandemic caused organizations across industries to embrace a distributed workforce model, healthcare included. Eighty-five percent of healthcare executives quickly moved the majority or all of their workforce remote. This yielded significant impacts to their businesses, such as increased use of personal devices, accelerated remote workforce strategies, difficulty onboarding employees and more. Due to these challenges, healthcare workers found that their natural flow of work was interrupted.

To be successful, healthcare digital transformation must empower employees to do their jobs seamlessly. This includes the ability to access patient data securely from anywhere, whether during home office telehealth appointments or at the patient’s bedside. To fully realize the potential of healthcare technology, employees have to be 100% on board. Technology must fit into the natural workflow, and the learning curve must be short. Healthcare employees are busy and, unfortunately, sickness never sleeps. Embracing technology that allows these employees to do their best work from anywhere will be crucial to providing the best experience and health outcomes for patients. 

2. Create a Patient-First Journey 

Healthcare digital transformation should be driven by providing a patient-first journey. Today’s patients have more choices about care and are more empowered with information about what they want their care experience to be. The COVID-19 pandemic created more reliance on digital connectivity. The digitalization of patient services, such as telehealth visits and at-home monitoring, provides a great opportunity to reach underserved communities and facilitate greater screening efficiency. Investing in technology to support an “anytime, anywhere” patient-first journey will be fundamental in transforming the future of the healthcare industry. 

3. Secure Healthcare Data 

“Anywhere, anytime” healthcare requires connecting all the data silos built up over the years. These silos have historically made it difficult for healthcare workers to share health data with researchers, other hospitals and physicians, hindering employees from efficiently communicating and causing a delay in patient care and diagnoses. 

Today, healthcare professionals are ordering more labs and scans and conducting more research than ever, resulting in data that needs organizing and securing. Healthcare organizations possess a gold mine of personal data from both their patients and their employees. Cybercriminals see these organizations as ideal targets to exploit. In fact, healthcare organizations said cyberattacks have increased in sophistication and scale, with a 9,816% increase in cyberattacks from 2019 to 2020 according to Carbon Black research. 

As healthcare organizations become a more enticing target for cybercriminals, it’s critical that these organizations prioritize data protection. When mass amounts of personal data is at stake, it’s important to embed security into every layer of IT to protect workloads across any environment. This can help reduce the risk of an attack that shuts down an entire hospital wing and safeguards the crucial technology that, in some cases, keeps patients alive. 

How University Medicine Essen Embraces VMware Tanzu to Enhance Patient Outcomes

During VMworld 2021, Christopher Logan, Director Global Healthcare Industry Strategy at VMware and Armin de Greiff, Head of IT at University Medicine Essen (UME), discussed how the hospital uses technology to gain its strategic advantage. UME is located in an area with a high density of top-notch hospitals. It “only takes a wheelchair to get from hospital to hospital” joked de Grieff about the proximity of competing hospitals. UME needed a unique selling point, in either medicine or technology, to stand out and provide the best patient outcomes. UME views its technology as its differentiator. 

UME seeks to be the first “smart hospital” in Germany, focusing on research and innovation. To support its modern application journey, UME implemented VMware Tanzu, which allows the hospital to navigate an agile environment that provides a high-quality patient experience. 

Medicine is using more apps than ever before. Tanzu helps organize apps and enables secure access from any device, anywhere. VMware Tanzu also establishes infrastructure that can deal with new demands. Previously, the hospital used manual documentation to track new patient data. 

Patients arrive to appointments with their own devices, data and timelines, expecting the hospital to absorb this information into their systems. Tanzu provides UME with a sophisticated, reliable architecture that aggregates all the information on one platform, eliminating data silos and marrying the hospital’s legacy architecture with its modern application efforts. Furthermore, this technology installation has doubled as an excellent employee recruitment tool. Leading healthcare professionals are eager to work with the modern tech stack and be pioneers in the digital future of medicine. According to de Grieff, VMware is the “data center glue” that gives UME an edge over the competition and most importantly, frees healthcare workers to focus on excellent patient outcomes.  

Leap Forward to a Digital Future

Historically, healthcare decision-makers have been hesitant to take the leap toward a digitized future. But as we discovered during Logan and de Grieff’s VMworld panel discussion, embracing digital transformation can result in deeper patient engagement, eliminate data silos and attract new talent. With VMware, organizations can accelerate their path to real-time connected healthcare by driving a more modern and consistent patient experience and enabling providers to access any app across any device from any cloud. Explore VMware’s healthcare provider solutions and how they can pave your organization’s digital transformation journey and stay updated on the trends shaping healthcare IT

James Millington

James Millington is Director of Product Marketing at VMware End User Computing, working with customers and partners globally to deliver solutions that drive digital transformation with Workspace ONE. He has previously led the healthcare sector product marketing for all VMware solutions with a focus on improved provider productivity leading to improved patient care. Prior to joining VMware, James held product marketing and product management positions at Imprivata and Citrix. James holds an MBA from Oxford Brookes University in the UK

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Jens Koegler

Jens Koegler is VMware's Healthcare Industry Director in EMEA. He is helping our healthcare customers develop and run modern applications to drive innovation and ensure better patient care through a digital foundation that includes data center, hybrid cloud, mobile, networking and security technologies. VMware plays a strategic role in the healthcare industry. Its leading innovations in enterprise software help ensure consistent patient care and reduce IT access time for healthcare professionals so they can spend more time with their patients. Jens plays a key role in helping customers understand how new applications, devices, the latest IT technologies and digital transformation are driving innovation in healthcare.