CTTI

Giving doctors the tools to fight COVID-19

The Government of Catalonia has moved quickly to give its healthcare teams the tools they need to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Working alongside Fujitsu on a virtual desktop and applications solution, it now supports remote working for up to 40,000 healthcare professionals. The solution, delivered in just 72 hours, allows access to critical healthcare applications, and enables Catalonia to adopt a dynamic response to a fast-changing situation.

Challenge

To enable healthcare professionals to work remotely and to have access to critical applications.

Solution

  • VMware Cloud™ on AWS and VMware Horizon®7
  • Supports application virtualization to make remote working possible.
We need to mobilize all of the resources that exist in Catalonia. Creating flexible teams will allow us to respond dynamically.

Alba Vergés, Catalonia’s Counsellor of Health

40,000

healthcare staff in Catalonia can potentially work remotely, if required

About the customer

The Center for Telecommunications and Information Technology (CTTI) is the public company that manages and delivers telecommunications, computer systems and services for the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia). It also provides cross-cutting solutions adapted to the different departments including designing, building, coordinating and deploying technological projects, promoting and incorporating innovation, and digital transformation.

Securing a cloud-enabled response to a healthcare emergency

Few organizations have proved immune to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. No industry has been more stretched than healthcare.

Across the world, healthcare authorities have needed to rethink emergency plans. Hospitals have been overwhelmed; key staff have had to self-isolate. There has been a shortage of trained staff and equipment.

Spain has been one of the most severely affected countries in Europe. The government estimates it will spend $1.8 billion fighting the healthcare emergency. In Catalonia, the state government moved quickly to give its healthcare teams the tools they would need to fight the pandemic. The primary goal was to allow frontline staff to work from anywhere, with secure access to patient records.

Delivering remote access to critical applications

In 2019, the Center for Telecommunications and Information Technology (CTTI) of the Government of Catalonia worked alongside Fujitsu to create a remote working solution for staff in the government’s tax department. It recognized the same solution could be repurposed in rapid time to empower healthcare workers.

The solution utilizes VMware Horizon® to manage virtual desktops and applications. VMware Cloud™ on AWS enables CTTI to protect and scale applications in one of the world’s leading public clouds.

It means healthcare staff can access two important applications: the first, a standard healthcare administration application; the second, the patient’s digital health record. It shows a patient’s medical history, prescription record and current treatments. This is vital as medical teams work collaboratively in a fast-changing environment.

Ensuring scale, security and flexibility

The platform was fully operational within three days. From an email alert over the weekend of March 13th, 2020, Fujitsu had the solution online by Wednesday of the same week. The Fujitsu teams in Spain worked with colleagues in the UK and Germany to accelerate the deployment.

This speed enabled Catalonia to move quickly in its response to COVID-19. The first of the four sports centers to be converted to temporary hospitals, Olímpics Vall Hebron, opened in late March with 600 beds. Staff onsite are able to connect via the virtual desktop environment. Remote working also allows health workers to continue working while self-isolating.

The solution is also adaptable. CTTI’s initial request was for remote access for 300 of the most critical workers. This quickly grew to 1,200 as Catalonia realized the scale of the task. CTTI then recognized that potentially all 40,000 healthcare workers in the region would benefit from remote working. This may grow again as the Catalan Counsellor of Health announced plans to mobilize retired medical professionals, final-year students and recent graduates to bolster the health workforce.

The solution’s architecture means scaling is no issue. CTTI will pay only for what is used.

“We need to mobilize all of the resources that exist in Catalonia,” says Alba Vergés, Catalonia’s Counsellor of Health. “Creating flexible teams will allow us to respond dynamically.”

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