Sunrise Health

Sunrise Health: Sunrise Health Improves the Clinician Experience Through Secure , Simple VDI

4,000 users. Hundreds of apps. A mix of mobile and fixed devices. Unidesk and Citrix XenDesktop are enhancing care provider productivity and reducing application and desktop delivery costs for this Canadian health system.

Sunrise Health

"Unidesk is more than just one of the key solutions in our VDI initiative. They have been a true partner in our success. It's rare that you can say that about one of your vendors. But it's true with Unidesk, from the quality of their technology, to the quality of their support, to the quality of their people."

Sheranga Jayasinghe, PMP
Director of IT, Sunrise Health


Video Case Study: Sunrise Health. Watch the Video

0:31 - Workspace Management Challenges
1:16 - App Lifecycle Management
1:35 - Benefits & Cost Savings
3:01 - Unidesk Layering at Work
4:23 - Elastic Layering
4:59 - Accelerating to Cloud

Health care is a provincial responsibility under the separation of powers in Canada's federal system. Health regions with regional authorities are the governance model used to administer and deliver public health care. Sunrise Health is the third largest of the 13 regional authorities in Saskatchewan, with more than 3,000 employees serving over 58,000 people.

For Sunrise Health, the move to Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) had to be made:

  • Clinicians were not making consistent use of electronic systems due to terminal server performance issues and the inability for desktops to remember where they last left off. Falling back to paper records was reducing the effectiveness and consistency of diagnostics and prescriptions.
  • Non-clinicians accessing information on behalf of care providers was creating privacy and security concerns, making it harder to comply with Canada's Health Information Protection Act (HIPA).
  • The IT staffs in each of the regional authorities are lean. Patching and updating Windows, AllScripts EMR and hundreds of other clinical applications were diverting resources that could be better used on projects that advance the quality of health care.

VDI Challenges: Application and Image Management

Sunrise Health started down the VDI path with Citrix XenDesktop. "Before you can implement VDI, you're told to first virtualize all of your apps," said Sheranga Jayasinghe, Director of IT at Sunrise Health. "This is where we got stuck. We have 16 and 64-bit apps that are not supported by app virtualization. We have custom and specialty apps needed by different departments that were just too hard to virtualize for our IT staff. One of our biggest challenges became how to support all of our different desktop configurations.”

Sheranga reached out to some of the other regional health authorities who were piloting VDI to find out how they were overcoming the image management and application delivery challenges. Said Sheranga, "One region was using VMware Horizon, but they had hit the same issues. They were still trying to virtualize their apps. Too many apps would not virtualize easily, so when that didn’t work, they’d put the apps into a gold image. They were hoping to have 5 gold images, but they were already up to 20 for a pretty small rollout. For us, it was clear that was not the route to go. We’re a much larger region than they are, and our users require many more apps. I could see we’d end up with well over 50 images. That’s the last thing we wanted.”

Application Packaging Made Easy

Sheranga decided a different approach was needed. He searched the web for new application management solutions for VDI and found Unidesk. "Unidesk's layering technology was exactly what we were looking for," he said. "I had my team look at it in more depth. They came back and said ‘this is the route to go.’”

The Sunrise IT team piloted Unidesk and found it worked as advertised. Said Sheranga, "The process of layering an app is the same as installing it on a regular desktop, so we found that we could all be app packaging experts. We ran contests internally to see who could layer apps the fastest.”

Within a few weeks, the lean IT team at Sunrise Health had packaged its most challenging apps with Unidesk. AAMT Book of Style, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Air, Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe Premiere, Allscripts EMR, Apple iCloud, Apple iTunes, Avaya CallPilot, Boardmaker, Canon Scanner Drivers, CHARTrunner, Cisco VPN, Crystal Reports, Dymo LabelWriter, DWG CAD Viewer, Blackbaud Financial Edge, Imprivata OneSign, and 150 more apps were layered and ready to be assigned to desktops.

Added Sheranga, "Unidesk was the only technology we found that was compatible with all of our apps. For example, other application management solutions cannot deliver Imprivata OneSign because it needs to be running before users login. The only recourse is to embed it in a gold image, but that makes updates and break/fix much harder. Plus when you keep doing this, you end up with many images to manage again. We don't have those issues with Unidesk.”

One Gold Image

With applications layered separately, Sunrise Health has been able to provision desktops using a single gold image of Windows.

Said Sheranga, "We can easily support our different desktop configurations now that we have Unidesk. We just combine our clean Windows 7 gold image with different combinations of app layers. We get the modular advantages of app virtualization without any of the limitations of isolation. And we don't have any gold image sprawl - just one copy of Windows to patch and update as we scale."

Integrated VDI Solution Set

Sunrise Health has deployed 1,000 virtual desktops to date, servicing 4,000 users. Unidesk is used to package and deliver applications and manage Windows updates for all of them. Citrix XenDesktop is the health authority's VDI platform, with Citrix Receiver for Dell Wyse clients and Apple iPad being used for virtual desktop access. The outstanding performance of the Citrix HDX protocol and the convenience of being able to access desktops anytime, from any location made VDI adoption easier and faster.

Sunrise Health is also taking advantage of the interoperability between AppSense and Unidesk to simplify Windows management. The AppSense agent is deployed as a Unidesk layer to all desktops, and is enabling the IT team to replace the cumbersome Windows GPOs and logon scripts that were previously required to manage sessions.

"We're delighted with how well AppSense and Unidesk work together," said Sheranga. "They are a powerful combination, with Unidesk making applications really easy to deploy and manage, and AppSense providing centralized user management."

Objectives Achieved

When Sunrise Health set out to transform the clinician experience with VDI, Sheranga and his team made a list of success criteria and expected benefits. Today, they are happy to report that all have been achieved:

For IT:

  • Transition application and image management to the Help Desk
  • Reduce new application creation time from weeks to days
  • Provision new desktops to users in 30 minutes
  • Reduce average troubleshooting times to less than 30 minutes per incident
  • Require no dedicated IT staff to manage the VDI environment

For Finance:

  • Decrease “Down Time” for end users to increase staff productivity and maximize care provider time at bedside
  • Reduce capital costs by replacing PCs with less expensive, more energy-efficient Dell Wyse clients
  • Reduce storage footprint to less than 10GB per desktop

For Care Providers:

  • Access desktops in less than 15 seconds
  • Provide a consistent user experience (Desktop, Apps, Profile , Printing)
  • Simplify password management and remove all security liability
  • Support BYOD

For Patients:

  • Increase access to clinical information
  • Eliminate IT-related wait times within the “Delivery of Care”
  • Remove concerns over breach of patient information

The Sunrise Health IT team is proud that VDI has added 2 hours of patient care time back per doctor per day by reducing login times to 120 seconds over the course of a 12-hour shift. They also estimate that there has been a 300% increase in access to clinical information, thereby increasing patient safety. We're proud that Unidesk is playing a major role in making these achievements possible.

Deployment Details

  • Application Management
  • EUC Platform
    Citrix XenDesktop
  • Storage
  • Server
  • Users
  • Application Layers
    AAMT Book of Style, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Air, Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe Premiere, Allscripts EMR, Apple iCloud, Apple iTunes, AppSense agent. Avaya CallPilot, Boardmaker, Canon Scanner Drivers, CHARTrunner, Citrix Receiver, Cisco VPN, Crystal Reports, Dymo LabelWriter, DWG CAD Viewer, Blackbaud Financial Edge, Imprivata OneSign, Microsoft Office
  • More Info
  • 150 apps packaged by internal IT staff - less than 30 minutes per app
  • Storage footprint only 5GB per desktop
  • Number of EMR records accessed weekly increased by 300%

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