January 2020 may have marked the end of support for Windows 7 but FOI requests released the same month show that a staggering 46% of machines in the NHS are still running the OS, this despite the National Cyber Security Centre warning to users to not even access their email accounts on Windows 7 devices from now on.
The challenge for IT teams is that the logical move to Windows 10 isn’t the same as previous Windows migrations. But with challenge comes opportunity. The scale and scope of change is such that teams can legitimately pause and reconsider their whole desktop strategy – migrate on-premises or move to a hosted desktop model. They’re at a crossroads – so which way to turn?
Perhaps that question is best answered by looking at the end game and working back from there. What do clinicians need to help them improve service at the point of care?
A wish list would probably look something like this:
- Smoother interactions with patients at the bedside
- Real-time electronic notetaking
- Fast log-in to your own desktop from any location
- Ability to use mobile devices as well as terminals and laptops
- Timely system access reducing dependency on paperwork
- Secure user accounts and compliant data handling
- Foundation for further patient-centric innovation
That’s putting a lot of pressure on tech teams to deliver a modern, functional, reliable, and mobile experience to clinicians and staff, and to do it compliantly, securely, cost-efficiently and affordably. And then those same tech teams need to manage, support and upgrade those systems day in, day out, too maximise the time available to clinicians for patient care.
There has to be a strong argument for taking that pressure off by making the shift to a hosted desktop model. It’s one of the most mature forms of commodity computing, taking that heavy ‘keeping the lights on’ burden off internal shoulders and freeing them up for more innovative, value-adding projects.
Citrix on Azure is one such option – with virtual workstations, data storage, operating systems and applications hosted in the Azure cloud, it can transform traditional PC environments while delivering efficiency gains, financial savings, data safeguards and operational flexibility.
Hospitals who have already made the move are making inroads on their clinicians’ wish list – the freedom to work at the bedside and utilise technology at the point of care for the benefit of the patient. And more importantly, the ability to claim back 2-4 hours a day from ward rounds, transforming inefficiencies and frustrations into valuable time that can be given back to the patient.
And what’s a win for clinicians doesn’t come at a price for IT teams either – quite the opposite. They’re seeing their own wish list fulfilled:
- Evergreen desktop with no vulnerabilities from an ageing OS
- Cost certainty with a move from a CAPEX to OPEX model
- Increased availability and disaster recovery capability
- Greater mobility and agility
- Extended hardware life
- Centralised management and consistency of estate
- Improved security posture
- Effortless scalability
When it comes to desktop delivery, the direction of travel seems to be increasingly towards hosted desktop. If you’re standing at that crossroads, this could be the route to take.