Virtualization inside an information technology (IT) department has its benefits for every organization: increasing operational efficiency, increasing department productivity and alleviating bottlenecks with physical hardware. Recently a case study was conducted by VMWare which addressed how well the healthcare industry has taken to virtualization. More specifically, the way in which healthcare organizations have had the ability to streamline a few processes which previously took up valuable resources.
Healthcare information technology (HIT) is an integral aspect of the healthcare industry as a whole. The end goal for the healthcare industry, patient care, relies on services and systems that are based on technology. The faster a physician is able to retrieve patient information, the fast that patient may be treated. Having the ability to reduce a paper trail means there is less time for human error in the form of illegible handwriting or misfiled documents. The technology available to healthcare professionals today is staggering. In the study presented by VMWare three key characteristics of virtualization were presented, below they are summarized:
1) Reducing PCs: Virtualizing an environment allows for a healthcare organization to reduce the amount of physical machines on their infrastructure. This reduces the recurring cost of maintenance for the physical machines, while simultaneously allowing for an increasing in information to occur.
2) Increasing Communication: By reducing the amount of time spent with the old legacy systems, virtualized HIT departments can more readily share information between one another. Different hospitals can provide physicians with the appropriate information, quickly.
3) Improving Patient Care: due to the fact that utilizing a virtualized environment reduces physical machines, the amount of time needed to maintain a system is reduced. The virtualized environment also allows physicians to treat patients on the road, allowing an increase in time spent with patients in general.
All three of these characteristics drive the end result for any healthcare organization, the improvement of patient care. By quickly, efficiently and productivity transferring information on a virtualized environment more patients may be treated. The virtualized environment can lead to a reduction in human error as previously mentioned, when coupled with the fact that many HIT organizations are utilizing mobilized devices to reduce the paper trail.