Canadian Health Systems deliver Apps-as-a-Service to medical clinics

Canadian Health Systems Delivers Applications-as-a-service To Medical Clinics

“Growth” is at the heart of Canadian Health Systems’ mission. The Ottawa, Canada-based company helps healthcare providers grow their medical practices by supporting their development and operations with innovative IT solutions and services.

Canadian Health Systems is a leading provider of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems, group practice management solutions, and professional services to clinics throughout the Canadian province of Ontario. They also offer custom systems and services ranging from Websites to patient portals and virtual care platforms.

CHS used Citrix to deliver EMR Advantage, their flagship electronic medical records system, to the remote clinics as a service. Since many clinics are typically small or mid-sized practices, accessing applications as a service relieved them of the need to set up and manage their own internal IT services.

The Challenge

Shane Ingram is Head of IT for CHS. He joined a team that included Hayley Kash, VP of Operations, who had been dealing with the Citrix portion of their service.

“Many support calls focused on resolving issues related to Citrix rather than the actual medical applications themselves. Even user password management requests became a reoccurring distraction that took up valuable support time. We realized that this was unsustainable.”

Finally, there was cost, which had escalated throughout the years. When Citrix support renewal came up, the senior leadership team decided that a change was in order if CHS were to continue delivering reliable and high-quality services to its customers.

The senior leadership team asked the IT team to find an alternative to Citrix that addressed their problems and was more affordable.

The Solution

The team established their requirements and evaluated all options. In addition to addressing the core problems of performance, stability, and cost, the solution would also have to offer a positive user experience, easy manageability, and reliable vendor support.

The project team evaluated other solutions before selecting Inuvika OVD Enterprise.

Together with Inuvika’s pre-sales and engineering teams, CHS piloted a test deployment using the types of Windows-based applications delivered to their customers as a service.

At each clinic, healthcare providers access applications using a Windows desktop, laptop, or mobile device like Microsoft’s Surface tablet. The Surface tablet offers a unique user experience due to its high mobility factor and ability to use pen-based input. Staff could easily carry the slimline device between exam rooms like a notebook. It also replicated a familiar pen and paper note-taking experience, except information could now be entered directly into a patient’s electronic record.

Since the Inuvika Enterprise Desktop Client (EDC) already supports Windows devices, it was easy for CHS customers to begin using OVD Enterprise. CHS users are also presented with an EDC window visually branded with the CHS logo, making them more comfortable when accessing the system.

The Results – Lower Support Calls

Once the pilot turned into general production and remote users were onboarded, the support team noticed an immediate downward trend in the number of support calls received.

“Overall, we’ve seen a significant decrease in the number of support calls.”

Users also experienced improved stability and reliability, which improved satisfaction and productivity.

The added flexibility of using the Web client was also helpful when staff had to check in remotely from home or another remote location using a simple Web browser.

Label printing problems were resolved using OVD’s Premium USB Device Redirection capability, which addressed the core connectivity issues that troubled the old Citrix environment.

CHS Administrators also benefitted from a more streamlined management environment. The IT team is responsible for managing many applications and users. Having tools that are easy to use can make a big difference in the daily activities of System Administrators.

The OVD Environment provides a single Web-based console, which greatly simplified management. Every aspect of OVD could be managed from a single point, eliminating the need to learn multiple tools and different ways of performing identical tasks.

“The tools are easier to find on a single console, making the system management much easier and less confusing than the Citrix environment. ”

Inuvika’s support team backed up the entire project by providing the CHS team with direct access to support staff during the integration phase and well into the production system phase.

A Cost-effective Solution

OVD’s lean resource requirements allowed CHS to deploy OVD within their existing cloud data center infrastructure. The added benefit of fewer support calls also translated into real efficiencies that were redirected back into the organization and allowed CHS to focus coverage on the other areas of the business.

“We estimate that the final cost of OVD to be about half of we were spending on the Citrix environment based on licensing and support costs alone.”

Moving Forward

With a reliable delivery platform in place, CHS can focus on delivering high-quality solutions and services that improve the health of thousands of Canadians. The team expects to continue growing its presence in the market and, in turn, meet its mission of helping healthcare providers grow their practices.

Download the PDF