The Hospital of East-Limburg goes Awingu for cost-effective operational excellence

The Hospital of East-Limburg (Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg or ZOL) is one of the largest peripheral hospitals in the province of Limburg and employs around 3000 people in staff and is home to over 300 medical doctors. Because the hospital is spread across 3 campuses (a number which will continue to grow as it has recently announced its merger with another hospital, Ziekenhuis Maas en Kempen), they noticed an increasing need to enable mobile work from anywhere, on any device.

Why look for a solution that enables remote work?

ZOL is continuously working on its digital transformation. In line with that is the expectation of its employees to access their data – patient files, hospital-specific applications, etc. – from anywhere and via any device (both managed and unmanaged). In the past, they had a Citrix environment up and running but they were displeased about its level of stability, its complexity and the fact that users were only able to access their data by installing an agent to establish the connection – a rather cumbersome predicament.

"It was absolutely crucial for us to have a new, modern and stable environment that we could deploy in a qualitative way and that allowed us to tackle as many use cases as possible."
Peter Thys
CIO, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg

Why Awingu?

‘We chose Awingu because it allows us to, in an easy way, give our users access to our internal systems,’ says Kurt Gielen (ICT Operations Manager, ZOL). ‘And it does that without the need for agents or clients, without the hassle of complicated systems that require a lot of updates and maintenance.’ With Awingu, ZOL gives its users to option to simply log in to their workspace via a web browser to start using all of their applications – be it legacy, SaaS or web.

‘An important driver to choose for Awingu was the cost aspect,’ says Kurt. After comparing Citrix with Awingu, they noticed a cost decrease of 50% – both in terms of licensing and operational costs. The latter became very apparent when talking to the IT support team at ZOL:

"In the past, when we still used Citrix, we got a lot of calls about login and printing problems. Now that we've made the switch to Awingu, that has strongly declined, which significantly lowered the work load for the IT department."
An Liebens
Servicedesk Engineer, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg

That cost decrease is also noticable when it comes to operational excellence: ‘One of the advantages that we’ve seen when switching to Awingu is that we were also able to shrink our server farm. In the past, we needed 20 servers to keep our Citrix environment running. When migrating to Awingu we were able to reduce that number to 8 – or even less!’, says Kurt.

How is Awingu being used?

Initially, the idea of implementing Awingu was to enable their staff and doctors to work from anywhere. To do that, they needed a solution that was as little intrusive as possible – and Awingu ticked that box:

"It's an easy to use product. You don't need to install or update agents or clients, you effortlessly log in to the workspace to access our internal systems via a web portal which is a big plus for our users in the day-to-day maintenance and use of our systems."
Kurt Gielen
ICT Operations Manager, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg

Awingu also helped ZOL in light of their JCI accreditation, which is an industry-wide standard for care quality. In terms of IT, being JCI accredited implies that you can deliver excellent care to your patients at any possible time – also in times of, for example, a major power outage or a disaster. According to Kurt, many hospitals print out every single patient file on a daily basis and construct a gargantuous paper archive to be ‘IT-independent’. However, ZOL found a much more cost-efficient and (definitely) easier way to do this:

"We used the same technology in an Azure setup to give access to our emergency systems, comletely isolated from our on-prem environment and live replicated in the cloud, always accessible in a case of emergency."
Kurt Gielen
ICT Operations Manager, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg

How was Awingu rolled out?

Initially, ZOL started with setting up Awingu on their on-premises systems. ‘The goal of that was to offer our employees and doctors an easy access to our medical records software, Chipsoft HIX, and to our most important line of business applications.’ After that, the Awingu-as-DRS-project rolled out, where the Awingu technology was used to give access to the emergency systems which and kept in sync on Azure and that sit completely isolated from the on-prem environment.

‘After those two initial phases, we started actively migrating Citrix users to the Awingu platform’, Kurt says. Right now, everyone at ZOL works in a consolidated way on the Awingu platform when performing external services.

"Now that everyone works with Awingu, Citrix has been completely replaced and taken offline."
Kurt Gielen
ICT Operations Manager, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg