How PCs in quarantine and intensive care units can be managed remotely

by Jeremy

The University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) has used chip management technology built into Intel processors to manage PC devices. While the pandemic presented immense challenges for the NHS, among the areas of work that may not make the headlines is that clinicians require access to PC equipment as part of their job. If these devices stop working, it can affect patient care.

healthcare doctor icons stethoscope adobe

Describing the challenges, Chris Brett, PC support technician at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW), says: “Typically, my team has been on the front line, in the office every single day. When there is an issue, my team has to fix it.” The PC support team manages user devices comprising 8,000 desktops, 3,000 laptops, a couple of thousand iPads, display screens, printers, and medical label printers.

Even before Covid-19, especially in areas such as intensive care units or restricted labs, PPE was required. IT support staff were only granted access when no patients or medical staff were present.

While UHBW uses remote desktop support and Wake on LAN tools to manage devices remotely, Brett says: “Before Covid-19, the issue we came across was that if a PC in theatre isn’t working, in first-line support, we’d need to scrub up to fix the issue in theatre.” This represents at least half an hour of downtime, which may prevent theatre staff from accessing medical records, potentially delaying surgery.

The need to reduce the risk of infection has become an even bigger priority since the pandemic struck, but so needs tech to keep performing. While PC support teams are well-versed in remote desktop management, Brett says that most PC support tools need Windows to run, adding: “If Windows isn’t loading, we had to wheel in a new PC.”

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