Enterprise Viewing and the benefits of using Virtual Machines


Healthcare providers today are all looking at technology to increase efficiency, drive better outcomes, and provide more services at a lower cost. When it comes to enterprise viewing, it is essential for organizations to understand the benefits of using a solution that is based on a Virtual Machine (VM) architecture as opposed to the higher cost physical hardware such as a graphical processing unit (GPU) approach.

In this document, we are sharing key business drivers for using a VM architecture; do more with less. We will outline several key business reasons why healthcare organizations seeking to build a robust, long-term enterprise viewing strategy should strongly consider using a full VM architecture over physical hardware and GPU driven solutions.

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Business Reason #1 – Reduce Your Infrastructure Costs

A VM architecture is commonly used by healthcare enterprises to cut IT maintenance and administration costs while improving security and performance. These costs and performance savings multiply when a VM architecture is used as an enterprise viewing backbone.

Healthcare enterprises can fully realize an enterprise viewing strategy and further lower their infrastructure costs and risks by:

  • Leveraging their existing VM environment;
  • Cutting the maintenance requirement through remote installation and implementation of an enterprise viewing platform;
  • Reducing and even eliminating the need for unnecessary new hardware;
  • Eliminating dependency and risk associated with expensive GPUs that can become a single point of failure;
  • Supporting MIP/MPR 3D on a VM, eliminating the need for another system.

Business Reason #2 – Protect Business Continuity

Healthcare organizations deliver patient care in a 24/7 world, as such, they need an enterprise viewer that is always available. Leveraging a VM architecture as part of an enterprise viewing strategy enables continuous access to health data by:

  • Eliminating physical malfunctions (such as GPU failures) and infrastructure maintenance, which leads to unacceptable downtime;
  • Enabling care providers who are working remotely, off campus or in partner locations access to the health data they require;
  • Removing the additional IT costs associated with the specialized hardware and dedicated servers required for a GPU;
  • Allowing healthcare organization to implement redundancy and offsite recovery without the additional hardware costs required by a GPU based solution.

Business Reason #3 – Broader & More Efficient Delivery of Care

An enterprise viewing strategy based on a VM architecture allows healthcare enterprises to achieve the broadest and most efficient level of care. Let’s take a look at the achievements of Wisconsin’s Marshfield Clinic, made possible through eUnity™ supported by a basic server running entirely in a VM architecture:

  • Enterprise viewing support for 17,000+ users within the clinic and its extended Tier II provider network (including referring physicians in hospitals, public health departments, nursing homes) across 54 sites;
  • 5,000 to 6,000 unique viewers a day;
  • Significantly faster retrieval of images from archive;
  • Significant improvements to clinical workflow;
  • Scaling of the system for business continuity and redundancy with no additional hardware requirements, zero downtime and no clinical disruption.