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Thin Clients for Healthcare? It’s Time to Rethink Your Computing Environment

Healthcare IT professionals face rigorous IT requirements in order to manage things like carts, workstations, and other mobile and fi xed devices used at the point of care. And they need to do this while ensuring that data security remains intact—critical to patient privacy and HIPAA compliance. To meet this tremendous challenge, they turn to virtual desktop infrastructure and thin client devices. In this edition of Meet the Expert, Mike Conn, Northeast Region Sales Manager for HP Client Virtualization Solution Organization, talks about the evolution of thin clients and the advantages that they can bring to healthcare organizations.

Q: Can you defi ne virtualization technology in relation to thin clients and explain how they play a role in the world of virtualization?

A: Thin clients have evolved quite signifi cantly over the past year or so. Many people remember them as a “dumb terminal.” But now, instead of having a decentralized environment, everything is centralized. This way, all of the data resides in the data center, and the thin client is the delivery mechanism used to get the data from point A to point B.

Q: Is it true that thin clients are easy to use, navigate, and work with for the ultimate end-user—in this case, nurses and care practitioners at the bedside?

A: Yes. The end-user essentially will have the same experience that they

have now. But with thin clients, all of the information will reside in a secure data center—this is a key point in a healthcare environment. HIPAA compliance is tantamount when securing an environment. With thin clients, all of the data and information are stored in a secure data center. The value of the thin client is in having that same user- experience, but also gaining the ability to access information immediately.

Q: Over the last year, what has changed with HP thin client products, and what does HP offer now that is on the cutting edge of technology for healthcare?

A: Today we offer dual-core processors to provide a better user experience when looking at PACS information. In addition to that, mobility has improved.

This allows nurses with carts to travel from room to room, connect easily, and access their desktops wherever they are. Also, this year NIST security is very important to HP. We are now encrypting the BIOS to eliminate BIOS spoofi ng— an easy way to hack into a PC or a thin client.

Q: Thin clients were once considered thin not only in terms of their abilities, but also in terms of their durability. Has this improved?

A: Yes. Thin clients are durable because there are no moving parts—there are no fans or hard drives. As a result, thin clients are not affected by the hardware shortage. Thin clients also offer low power consumption. They consume between 6 and 9 watts, as opposed to the 300 watts that a typical

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