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Healthcare and Google: How Chrome devices and the cloud are improving patient care

Information technology has made one of the most significant impacts on modern healthcare. In comparison to their predecessors, today’s healthcare practitioners are more tech-enabled, cost-conscious, mobile, and security-conscious than ever.

The need for ubiquitous access to medical records means that more medical records are being stored electronically. Consequently, hardware used in healthcare has had to evolve significantly to meet the demands of the industry, and Chromebooks have emerged as a superior alternative to desktop devices and traditional laptops.

Chromebooks are OS-powered devices that closely resemble laptops, with the exception that they are dependent on the cloud for running applications and storing files. The education sector has seen significant success with the adoption of Chromebooks with up to 30 million devices being used by students and educators. Chromebooks have also seen a rise in sales outside the education sector, accounting for 1% of all PC sales in 2013, a figure projected to reach 8% by 2021.

Part of this recent growth in sales can be attributed to the healthcare industry as more health organisations are making the shift from traditional desktop computers to the portable, low-cost devices. The ability of these devices to deliver secure, lightweight, budget-friendly access to medical systems, records and services make Chrome devices an ideal choice for the healthcare industry. Also fuelling this growth in adoption is the trend moving healthcare providers away from traditional workstations, and towards virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) thin client solutions. Of the available hardware options that fit the bill, Chrome devices specifically offer unique benefits to healthcare providers.

Why healthcare organisations are migrating to Chrome devices

The pressure on hospitals to reduce costs while optimising service delivery has created a drive by managers to better streamline operations and increase staff productivity. Chrome devices can uniquely address these needs due to their ability to deliver fast, secure, lightweight, budget-friendly access to medical systems, records and services. These features coupled with the ease of deployment and management are ideal for healthcare organisations interested in new cost-effective, efficiency-boosting IT solutions. In addition to this, Chrome OS makes cloud-based data sharing seamless, with easy access for clinicians while being securely managed through a centralized platform.

Benefits Chrome brings to the healthcare industry

Chrome brings a variety of benefits to the healthcare industry including:

Increased mobility and efficiency

Google Cloud’s connected infrastructure combined with the portability of Chrome devices affords clinicians access to their work on-the-go, and from virtually any location. In addition to this, encrypted cloud profiles mean that Chrome devices can be shared securely by multiple users, across multiple shared devices throughout the hospital, saving time and helping health professionals work independently.  For example, clinicians needing to check patient information would be able to do so without being tethered to an office, thanks to Google Cloud. Clinicians also benefit from the increased speed owing to the faster boot times when compared to traditional devices as files are not stored locally.


Chrome devices are significantly cheaper than traditional computers. In the healthcare industry, a cheaper Chrome device can be just as effective as a traditional computer as it runs mostly on web-based applications. Where healthcare organisations need to utilise VDI’s such as Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop,   Chrome devices can provide access to these and more applications within virtual sessions.

Enhanced Security

Chrome devices run on Google’s Chrome OS which comes with built-in security at every level, as well as automatic updates. In addition to this, all Chrome devices on a hospita network are managed centrally from a single Google admin console, which allows administrators access to IT taks and security policies.

One common risk with hardware devices in the healthcare industry is that of physical theft, accounting for 16% of security incidents in the industry. Chrome devices can help mitigate the losses linked to this risk by storing all information in the cloud. Cloud storage prevents sensitive information from being accessed from stolen equipment as devices can be remotely wiped, switched off and restricted to certain users, strengthening device security and overall cybersecurity.

Enable clinicians to see more patients with proximity badge access.

Ease of access is fundamental to clinician productivity as ‘interruptors’ such as multiple manual password entries throughout a shift can have a negative impact on productivity, eroding any efficiency advantage that Chrome devices might offer. To get the best out of a Chrome device implementation, it might be worth pairing the devices with a suitable proximity badge solution which offers clinicians secure and efficient access to a range of clinical applications with the tap of a card.

The ideal proximity badge access solution should be able to amplify the efficiency and security of Chrome devices by bringing Healthcast, Citrix and Google together to offer healthcare organisations an efficient, streamlined solution.

Proximity badge access works by allowing clinicians to simply tap their badge against the proximity badge reader to gain access into a workstation. The user taps the badge a second time to secure the session. Some solutions also offer a tap-over functionality which allows users acces to their work on devices which other users are logged in to, while securing the previous users session.

Most solutions enhance convenience and mobility by allowing users to seamlessly roam their sessions across mixed device environments (Chomebooks, HP, Dell, Wyse etc). For example, a clinician would be able to tap out of a Chrome device in one department and continue the session on a Dell in another part of the building.

On the security front, proximity badge access solutions can help organisations strengthen security and maintain HIPAA compliance by making it quicker and easier to secure sessions. User profiles can be configured to automatically log out after a predetermined amount of time if for any reason they fail to do so themselves, preventing wrongful access to sensitive information.