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UnityBPO Selects IGEL OS-Powered Endpoints to Deliver Remote Desktop Support for Healthcare Customers
IGEL, provider of the next-gen edge OS for cloud workspaces, today announced that UnityBPO, an HIT managed service provider specializing in the USA healthcare sector, is using IGEL OS-powered endpoints to provide secure connections to various virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platforms as part of a shared service desktop operation delivered to numerous customers. The resulting solution reduces overall their support costs by up to 15%.

Using the new IGEL-based solution, UnityBPO agents can seamlessly and quickly switch between VDI systems from Citrix, VMware and Microsoft to access various medical and office applications based on the individual caller's specific support needs.

UnityBPO provides a broad range of services and support to acute hospitals and post-acute healthcare organizations who deliver long term care, assisted living, hospice and home health.  Founded in 2016 and with its headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the company is privately-owned and is a lifeline for patients and clinicians in 41 states across the country helping them solve their technology challenges through a combination of remote and on-site technician teams.

Stephen V Wade, UnityBPO's CEO, says, "Unity's brand is our promise; delivering quality and ROI is what we do. Whether that's at the service desk operations or on site with clinicians in the field, we stay focused on providing the absolute best help we can to care workers. We support clinicians, backoffice and other healthcare professionals in their use of technology, clinical applications and electronic health records systems (EHRs) irrespective of whether this is Epic, Cerner, Homecare Homebase or PointClickCare."

In addition, UnityBPO helps patients directly if they have problems accessing - for example - a patient portal to review their own medical records.

IGEL OS is VDI agnostic and underpins a shared service model which lowers support costs

To offer better value for money to customers, UnityBPO shifted away from having dedicated staff on-premise supporting each client to launch a remote, shared services model. This means it can support multiple healthcare organizations remotely and concurrently thereby utilizing its manpower better and driving IT support costs down for all.

Kirk Plyler, UnityBPO's technical solutions architect, explains, "Depending on what we've deployed or what each individual client uses, our agents may need to connect to Citrix, VMware or Microsoft RDS and flip between all three VDI platforms during the day depending on the support request. One minute they'll access VMWare Horizon 7 and Windows 7, the next, switch sessions to Windows 10 running on Citrix XenDesktop (also known as Citrix Workspace). Our priority is always first call resolution, meaning we want to fix a problem or address a query for a customer straight away rather than escalating it for a call back. This drove the need for an endpoint solution which was agnostic and could support all VDI types. That's why we selected IGEL who provides this capability."

Each UnityBPO service desk agent has two monitors connected to an IGEL endpoint, a telephone and a headset. On start up, they log into the IGEL OS and then load the appropriate VDI platform they require. In addition, agents access a variety of IT service management and monitoring tools including the UnityWithin platform powered by ServiceNow.

Software-defined endpoints deliver significant benefits in a service desk context

IGEL's software-defined endpoints deliver a range of other benefits to UnityBPO:

  • Easy management. The IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS) is user friendly and feature-rich making the whole IGEL environment easy to centrally manage which includes pushing policies and configuration settings out to all or specific devices.
  • Fast deployment. The UMS enables the easy provisioning of IGEL equipment when it is installed. When new endpoints are plugged into the network, they auto-register with the UMS so roll out is quick.
  • Security of the endpoint. Security has been maximized as IGEL's Linux-based OS supports a ‘read only' file system. This is crucial as UnityBPO has to meet various compliance and security legislation, such as HIPAA, as agents are accessing confidential patient data.
  • Lower cost. Given IGEL endpoints have no moving parts (e.g., no spinning discs) reliability has been enhanced with the life of each thin client much longer than a traditional PC.

A platform for the virtual workforce of the future 

Moving forward, rather than having staff all at one location, UnityBPO is planning to introduce a virtual agent approach to allow service desk agents to work from home for work-life balance reasons. This will also bolster disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities and help the business recruit staff with specific EHR technology skill sets.

Plyler explains, "The trend is to have a geographically distributed team of people rather than everyone sitting in one central location. And we know that with IGEL, we have a partner who can support this strategy given that IGEL OS can be used to temporarily convert pretty much any 64-bit x86 device - for example, an agent's PC or MacBook at their home - along with central management tools required to then both access and oversee this wider endpoint estate."

Jed Ayres, CEO of IGEL, says, "The ethos behind software defined endpoints is all about flexibility, ease of management, security and configurability. And you can see this writ large with UnityBPO who simply had to have endpoints that could cater for a myriad of needs driven by not only a customer's VDI platform selection, but the applications and service desk tools then in use. This trend is only set to continue as Desktop as a Service and cloud workspaces become more commonplace."

Learn more about how IGEL helps healthcare organizations solve their end user computing challenges here: https://www.igel.com/customer-stories/healthcare/.

Published Thursday, March 12, 2020 3:02 PM by David Marshall
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