Success Story

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Single Sign-On and Virtual Desktops Achieve Big Goals with a Small IT Staff




Wilson Memorial Hospital is a community facility in Sidney, Ohio known for providing high-quality, innovative care. With a small IT staff, the hospital seeks solutions that can make a large organizational impact with a limited number of resources. This was the case when Wilson Memorial teamed with Forward Advantage to optimize its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) with VMware® Horizon View and implement single sign-on (SSO).

The solution satisfies a variety of goals including enhancing physician satisfaction, reducing administrative overhead, and meeting CPOE requirements for both Meaningful Use and the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy. “We’re a rural hospital and don’t have as many internal resources as I would like,” says Larry Meyers, Chief Information Officer at Wilson Memorial. “Single sign-on and VMware Horizon View allowed us to leverage a small pool of resources, while maximizing the benefit for the organization.”

Meeting Healthcare Challenges Head On

Wilson Memorial started virtualizing its data center three years ago with a different vendor; however, it was quickly determined that the solution wasn’t meeting its needs as a healthcare organization. “The prior vendor looked at this project very much from a sterile environmental process without taking into account the IT challenges we face in healthcare,” says Meyers. He knew they needed a vendor with healthcare experience to optimize the existing system and install virtual desktops throughout the organization. As an existing Forward Advantage customer, Meyers was aware of Forward Advantage’s status as a preferred reseller/integrator of Imprivata OneSign and a VMware Professional Solution Provider. With more than 200 successful SSO implementations and a wealth of experience in the healthcare industry, Forward Advantage was an easy selection for Meyers and his team. “Healthcare IT is the most challenging IT business segment out there, and Forward Advantage really understands it. They did a phenomenal job tailoring the system to meet our specific challenges head on,” says Meyers.

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Improving Convenience and Security

The project at Wilson Memorial took approximately three months, during which a phased approach was used to deploy SSO and the VDI throughout the hospital. All of the hospital’s clinicians are currently using the solution, which has reduced passwords from a minimum of eight to one. It also allows them to take advantage of both roaming and remote access to applications. To log on at the start of a shift, a clinician taps his or her badge to a workstation, which automatically fills in a user name. A single password allows access to all applications, and it only needs to be reentered after a set grace period has elapsed. An inactivity timer is also configured to disconnect the virtual desktop for a user after a certain amount of time. “It’s a very secure system,” says Jason Price, Network Analyst at Wilson Memorial Hospital. “The virtual desktops are recreated each night, so our end users have a fresh instance of all of their applications when they log on in the morning. This has virtually eliminated any viruses that we used to see on our standard, fat-client desktops.”

“We’re in Ohio where the weather is really unpredictable, so this allows him and our other physicians to sign off on charts from home on those bad-weather days.”

- Jason Price, Network Analyst at Wilson Memorial Hospital

Keeping Physicians Happy with Roaming and Remote Sessions

Roaming sessions through VMware Horizon View allow a clinician to disconnect a session on one workstation and pick up exactly where they left off on another.

It’s as simple as tapping out of one workstation and tapping into another. “Physicians can now quickly access patient information,” says Meyers. “At the end of the day, that improves the continuity of care and the patient’s outcome.” VMware Horizon View also provides physicians with the convenience of remote access to their applications. “We have a physician champion who absolutely loves the system and the ability to remote in from home,” continues Price.

Meeting Requirements for Meaningful Use and the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy

SSO and the VDI are helping Wilson Memorial satisfy requirements for both Meaningful Use and the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy. The hospital uses MEDITECH’s CPOE in conjunction with Forward Advantage’s Authentication Manager, which allows an end user to use the same authentication method in MEDITECH that they use for SSO. This means that a physician at Wilson Memorial can log onto a workstation using his or her badge and also use it to meet the Board’s requirements for CPOE dual authentication. “Single sign-on has made it really simple for us to allow that second authentication method to be realized with badges, because our providers were carrying them anyway to get into the facility,” says Meyers. “We’re satisfying the Board’s needs for CPOE and are improving patient safety by ensuring that a physician has the proper credentials to place and sign orders.”

“We were happy to learn that Wilson Memorial successfully attested to Meaningful Use this past fall,” comments Mike Knebel, Vice President of Sales for Forward Advantage. “They credited a lot of this success to single sign-on and the VMware Horizon View environment. Easy access encourages CPOE usage for physicians, and electronic ordering is a critical component to Meaningful Use.”a

About Wilson Memorial Hospital

Wilson Memorial Hospital is a full service community hospital serving residents of Shelby County and surrounding communities. Accredited by the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) for maintaining high quality care and patient safety standards,
Wilson Memorial offers a wide array of inpatient, outpatient and specialty services for the community and those served in business and industry including a hospital-owned physician network of 25 healthcare providers. For more information, visit