As part of a wider digital strategy, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) began upgrading to Intel vPro® technology in 2020, which has helped with its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the unique remote management capabilities offered by the Intel vPro platform, the UHBW IT team has been able to respond to technical issues in healthcare facilities much more rapidly, reducing downtime for critical departments such as Intensive Care Units (ICUs).
One of the biggest challenges for IT teams working in healthcare settings is accessing areas where rigorous cleanliness standards must be upheld. This was an issue even before COVID-19, particularly for locations such as ICU or labs where Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is mandatory. Often, IT staff are only allowed access to certain areas when there are no patients or staff present.
If engineers need to make onsite visits to fix IT issues this can mean that important areas, such as operating theaters, are out of action for prolonged periods of time, which could have serious implications on patient outcomes. The problem of limited access for onsite visits and the risk of prolonged downtime has been further exacerbated by the pandemic as the need to reduce the risk of the spreading the virus has taken priority.
Remote management is the answer to this major pain point and the deployment of Intel vPro technology can help to make this a reality. One of the key elements of Intel's built-for-business platform is Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT). Along with Intel® Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel® EMA), one of the free tools made available by Intel, this gives IT teams secure hardware-level remote access.
Devices using Intel vPro technology, including everything from laptops to digital signage, can be managed remotely, on and off of the corporate network, wired and wirelessly. Crucially, engineers can access devices even when they are powered off or the operating system is not functioning properly.
Intel vPro technology is already helping healthcare organizations in the UK to remotely manage their IT infrastructure. One of 217 NHS Trusts1 in the UK, UHBW began to upgrade to the Intel vPro technology platform in early 2020 just before COVID-19 struck. The deployment was temporarily put on hold while the team dealt with immediate concerns, including moving UHBW's office-based employees to home working. The roll-out was eventually carried out in June 2020 as part of UHBW's wider digital strategy.
NHS employee using Intel® Endpoint Management Assistant.
UHBW now has more than 200 devices powered by the Intel vPro platform deployed across multiple sites, including operating theaters and ICUs. The technology works with existing systems to provide a critical boost to remote management capabilities and has been something of a game-changer for the IT team during the pandemic.
While the UHBW IT team previously had the ability to remotely control devices using software-based products, this was heavily reliant on certain requirements being met, such as the device being powered on and the operating system running correctly. Intel vPro technology's enhanced hardware-level remote management capabilities have given UHBW two key benefits. Not only does it offer a much greater level of convenience for engineers, enabling them to respond to problems more quickly, it negates the need for site visits, which means that infection risk can be kept to an absolute minimum.
While electronic observation systems in UHBW ICUs were previously the responsibility of Medical Equipment Management Organization (MEMO), they are now looked after by the IT team as the Intel vPro platform's remote management capability helps to reduce onsite engineer visits.
Why Choose Intel vPro Technology?
The adoption of Intel vPro technology has been at the core of UHBW's response to the pandemic and has enabled it to adapt to a more seamless way of working across multiple sites. As well as helping the team to respond more quickly by addressing the pain point of restricted access to healthcare settings, Intel vPro technology enables NHS Trust IT teams to make crucial time and cost savings.
Powered by Intel vPro technology, the IT infrastructure that powers critical healthcare departments becomes “invisible,” allowing the highly skilled clinical teams to do their vitally important and challenging work.
“We're proud that our technology can play an important role in supporting frontline NHS teams in life-saving situations,” said Rhys Wathan, Account Executive for Intel UK Health and Life Sciences. “Along with remote management for IT teams, Intel vPro offers stability, security and powerful performance. Using the full range of tools in the Intel vPro enables IT teams to deal with the challenges presented by COVID-19 and will continue to help them to support the clinical workforce in future. As a leading force in digital transformation, UHBW is a perfect example of how the Intel vPro platform can help NHS Trusts to support the increasingly digital workplace during a particularly challenging time.”