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Kanaiwa Hospital Uses F5 to Increase Medical Team Collaboration and Expand In-home Patient Care

Kanaiwa Hospital needed to extend the capacity of its medical staff and meet the requirements for in-home patient care services as mandated by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW). Using F5 technology, the hospital established a secure virtual desktop environment that enables doctors and other key care providers—from any location—to share resources and information critical to patient treatment.


Business Challenges

 

Kanaiwa Hospital focuses on improving self-sustainability of mentally disabled persons in the northwestern part of Kanazawa City, Japan. Since 1956, the hospital has used various care-related collaborations to treat patients. However, when the hospital expanded to 189 beds for its in-patient care unit, daily workloads for an already small-sized medical staff increased.

Kanaiwa needed a way to expand collaborative efforts beyond the hospital’s premises while maintaining a high standard of patient care. This would also change the way medical personnel access, navigate, and interact with patient information.

These challenges were compounded when Kanaiwa Hospital received a notice from the MHLW. The notice stipulated the rules the hospital needed to follow for the remote patient care program it was developing.

Kanaiwa realized outdated technology was the source of each issue. In 2013, Kanaiwa established an IT department and stored patient and hospital administrative information on servers. Next, Kanaiwa created a virtual desktop infrastructure using VMware Horizon View, so every person in the hospital could access essential information any time.

“With aging patients and the extensive outreach to mentally disabled persons being promoted by MHLW, the need for home-visit patient care service has been on the rise,” stated Naoto Kawahara, the Healthcare Information Technologist responsible for managing the IT department at Kanaiwa Hospital.

Kanaiwa’s goal was to create an IT environment to support home visits and enable further collaboration between medical providers. Additionally, granting medical personnel access to fully view patient records—text as well as any moving images—from outside of hospital premises was most ideal and became a key goal.  

Solution

 

Kanaiwa Hospital felt that the second phase of its IT upgrade should focus on security and high performance. F5’s BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM), Virtual Edition (VE) was selected for several reasons.

First, the technology provides continuous, robust security that allows use of client certificates, in addition to user ID/password pairs. Even if some passwords are compromised, fraudulent access is difficult because logging into the system is only possible from end devices that store client certificates.

Second, because of BIG-IP APM’s ability to proxy PCoIP (PC-over-IP) based traffic, VMware View screen images were transmitted efficiently.

Finally, the F5 solution offered a license model that allows for simultaneous users. As long as the number of users remains within the pre-defined threshold, any number of medical staff can use the system without purchasing additional licenses. Kawahara pointed out, “We first considered limiting the access from outside to certain number of management level personnel, but BIG-IP rendered such limitation unnecessary.”

Benefits

 

Sharing patient information faster

With secure remote system access, medical personnel can quickly access their virtual desktops, retrieve patient records, and communicate care plans to other team members, including pharmacists. The increase in access and transmission speed improves efficiency and saves time, enabling medical personnel to get more work done.

Expanding the circle of care

Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other specialized medical staff benefit from each other’s expertise. Expanding the scope of information sharing to other hospitals and pharmacies connects the medical community and makes advocacy for mental health treatment stronger.

Meeting government mandates

Secure, anytime access of patient records helps Kanaiwa comply with in-home patient care rules. The hospital plans to expand its in-home services and expects it to be fully authorized by the MHLW.