Desktop virtualization infrastructure offers hospitals fast ROI

Desktop virtualization infrastructure (VDI) for cloud-based computing is expensive, but offers a return on investment in year four, a study at a South Korean hospital showed.

The study, published online Tuesday by BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, conducted a five-year cost-benefit analysis for installing 400 virtual machines (VMs) used by 1,100 people at the 910-bed Seoul National University Bundang Hospital.

After reaching the break-even point in the fourth year, the ROI was projected at 122.6 percent, which the researchers termed a "highly effective investment," on a system with a net present value (NPV) of $192,000. Increasing the number of virtual machines (tablet computers) increases the value of the investment, the researchers found.

The analysis projected that a five-year investment totaling $852,000 would generate $1.04 million in benefits.

The initial investment included servers, a storage area network (SAN), a virtual private network (VPN) and 400 tablet computers. All hospital information services were accessible through the VMs.

The hospital reported costs savings realized from having fewer problems with personal computers and less time lost to system and application upgrades, according to the report.

In a report issued earlier this year, the technology management firm Gartner noted that the number of healthcare providers installing desktop virtualization infrastructure is growing. Among the benefits of VDI, Gartner said, is better security, easier maintenance and improved user experience, as well as the ability to process more information on basic computer terminals.

On the downside, the company's report said, electronic health record vendors still have work to do in developing applications for EHR-specific cloud-based computing.

To learn more:
- here's a link to the study

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