How Thin Clients Cut Costs and Create More Efficient Healthcare White Paper

More efficient healthcare with technology

Dan Dillman

Executive Summary

The current public health crisis has highlighted IT inefficiencies by diverting resources normally dedicated to IT to meeting unexpected clinical demands. At the same time, it has forced health systems to adapt to new staff and processes faster than ever imagined. Thin clients are an easy, nimble IT solution that do just that. This solution centralizes data in the cloud and provides virtual desktops, all on small, secure devices. Thin clients help hospitals ramp up productivity as well as cut software, hardware and support costs. They may increase security from traditional endpoints because they remove local data storage vulnerabilities, which can help reduce the risk of breaches and data loss. Plus, these devices are easy to deploy and manage, offering streamlined access to applications and data in both traditional and flexible care settings.

Challenges Facing Healthcare Today

Today’s healthcare landscape is constantly changing, with increasing demands on clinicians, supporting staff and health systems to provide more for less. This competitive environment creates unique challenges for organizations to deliver quality, efficient healthcare.

  • With higher costs and tighter budgets to manage, healthcare administrators are looking for creative ways to cut some operational costs and maximize productivity. Employers are trying to manage costs more actively, especially in the short term, since the American Hospital Association (AHA) estimates the financial impact of COVID-19 for America’s hospitals and health systems to be $202.6 billion in losses from March 1 to June 30.
  • Another major concern is the growing threat of cyberattacks and data loss. Cybersecurity firm Keeper Security recently revealed that over half of healthcare organizations globally suffered a cyberattack in 2019. As healthcare delivery becomes more diverse and cybercriminals more adept, protecting patient and organizational data has never been more critical. Adding to increased security efforts, hospitals strive to maintain compliance with government mandates and privacy laws.
  • One of the most frustrating challenges and barriers to progress for many health systems is technology stagnation. Administrators often put off or reject new technologies because the cost of initial disruption during the adoption phase is just too high.

The healthcare industry is in need of IT solutions that help address all of these challenges.

Enter the Future of Healthcare with Thin Clients

Within the next two years, double-digit growth is expected in the use of virtualization technologies. That’s because this IT solution allows one machine to function as multiple virtual machines. That means fewer servers and the ability to maximize the potential of existing servers. By simulating hardware functionality, virtualization helps create software-based IT services, making IT delivery more efficient.

Thin clients, specifically, enable and support the centralization of data to the cloud. By providing virtual desktops, data center resource access points are reduced, and mobility ramps up as well. From networks and storage to applications, IT departments can run several operating systems on a single host via hypervisor, which delivers computing resources to each virtual machine as needed. This flexible resource distribution helps create more efficient healthcare and IT operations, as well as cost savings.

With this solution, you can convert your existing endpoint devices into thin clients. These lightweight devices range in size from slender boxes to tiny HDMI or USB sticks, and because thin clients don’t require major hardware overhaul, deployment is simple. Device management is also lower than traditional endpoints since thin clients require minimal updates. From a virtualization standpoint, the shift has never been easier than with thin clients. And from a hardware perspective, it just makes sense.

How Thin Clients Help Healthcare Systems Overcome Challenges and Thrive

Boost Productivity and Cut Costs by Improving Clinician and Administrator Workflows

This solution allows IT administrators to tweak virtual app delivery and virtual workflow. Many systems already use virtual applications to deliver EMRs to endpoints. And with centralized delivery of applications and desktops via thin clients, organizations can save money on hardware, software and support.

Not only this, but consistency and performance of the clinician experience also improves, as application and desktop virtualization play a key role in optimizing clinical workflows. These devices provide continuous connectivity and roaming potential for different access points, which means physicians can see more patients in less time. This solution also helps cut time-to-productivity because clinicians have faster access to a patient’s record, including single sign-on capabilities. With thin clients, organizational efficiency can improve from time and money saved.

Keep Patient and Organizational Data More Secure

Instead of storing data on PC drives throughout a healthcare system, thin clients back it up virtually in the data center or cloud through structured procedures and protocols. Thin clients lower the likelihood of cyberattack and decrease damage potential in the event of an attack, as fewer devices store confidential information. And in the event of data loss, the automated data backup process in the data center or cloud makes recovery easy—a valuable feature with the severity of many healthcare data breaches occurring in the current climate.

Virtualization security benefits also include compliance and documentation processes. Through thin clients, secure access to data allows employees to record, maintain and protect sensitive information accurately and securely. The centralization of data provides secure digital workspaces and greatly simplifies care providers’ abilities to comply with HIPPA as well as meet audit requirements.

Ultimately, these devices can offer a security upgrade from traditional hardware.

Propel Your Healthcare System Forward—With Minimal Disruption

Thin clients offer a user-friendly, manageable solution to many challenges that get in the way of healthcare organizations’ abilities to compete and advance. Faster, more consistent delivery of core IT services allows your organization to do more with less. IT administrators and teams can be more productive with fewer management issues and vendors to deal with. Clinicians and care staff can see more patients and focus on quality care with time saved from quicker, easier access.

Thin clients also deliver a better end-user experience that expands mobile capacity. Flexible care offerings like telehealth and in-home health are more prevalent than ever. In fact, the AHA reports that 76% of U.S. hospitals connect with patients and practitioners at a distance through video and other technologies. Thin clients integrate easily to streamline access and connectivity across all settings, even bring-your-own-device deployments. With this virtualization solution, employees can access clinical records securely and easily, from patient rooms to home health desktops.

Thin clients help health systems transition to virtualization and flexible care offerings.


From global health crises to new legislation, provider offices, hospitals and other care delivery settings are met with new challenges on a daily basis. Health IT leadership can rise to industry challenges, prioritize immediate needs and support business continuity with easy-to-deploy thin clients.

Budget strains can be eased as you’re able to cut business IT costs, especially in hardware and operational management. Your transition to virtual desktop infrastructure or cloud computing can be both simple and secure as you minimize security risks and maximize clinician uptime. By streamlining processes and prompting more efficient healthcare, thin clients can help you move your healthcare business forward with confidence and peace of mind.

The views and opinions expressed in this content or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.

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