St. Luke’s Health System, Idaho

Author: April 24, 2015

An Interview with Brett Taylor, Director of Infrastructure Operations at St. Luke’s Health System

Brett Taylor is the director of infrastructure operations at St. Luke’s Health System of Idaho – one of the top 15 healthcare systems in the nation. The hospital’s IT department supports over 1,500 physicians and 13,000 employees, across 150 facilities in Idaho and Eastern Oregon. We asked Brett if he could give us an update on St Luke’s recent move to Nutanix. Here are some of the highlights of our conversation.

Q. What are the key IT and business challenges you were facing before Nutanix?
A. We realized that we needed to be more agile in how we deploy our desktop environments about a year and half ago. Virtual desktops are a good fit for the way our employees function. Our providers and caregivers move quickly from patient room to patient room, from machine to machine. Their productivity is based on how efficiently they can interact with patients, without technology getting in their way. They need the ability to document everything in our electronic health records system without having to wait a long time to log into any device. It took seven minutes on average to log in on our traditional desktop platform. This was clearly an unacceptable delay for our busy health practitioners who would rather interact with patients and relieve them of their distress than deal with computer input. We needed to ensure that the platform would provide an exceptional end user experience, and as we scaled VDI to more clinicians, that the experience would not degrade due to performance problems with the storage and compute platform. Our key challenge was deliver a solution to our care providers that enhanced their delivery of care.

Q. Why did you choose Nutanix for your VDI environment?
A. One of the reasons we chose Nutanix was its easy scalability. We knew we would eventually have a high percentage of virtualized desktops in our organization, but didn’t know how fast this would happen. Nutanix removes the worry and uncertainty from our IT planning. With our previous solution, we had to over-provision infrastructure to ensure we could meet demand. And that’s an expensive way to ensure that our users are always able to do their jobs efficiently, which is our goal. The Nutanix building block approach to scalability provides a much easier and cost-effective way to grow our environment.

Q. How are you ensuring security for your private patient information?
A. Before moving to Nutanix, we encrypted all of our desktops. It was a lot of work for our technicians. Moving to thin clients and virtual desktops has simplified the process and reduced risk by enabling our physicians and third-party contractors to access to data in a more secure fashion. Patient-record confidentiality is not something we can ever compromise.

Q. What are your plans for the future?
A. Our goal is to simplify our IT infrastructure whenever possible, while at the same time keeping it ultra-secure. We do know that software will drive the future of healthcare delivery. So instead of limiting our choices of software, we will have to simplify our infrastructure backend. That’s why we chose the Nutanix hyperconverged platform. Nutanix has been a big win for us in terms of IT agility – both in the ability to deploy quickly and move applications, and in dealing with all aspects of scaling and data security. In all measures, Nutanix has been an excellent solution for our organization.

Q. I was told that you will be speaking at the .NEXT user conference in June. What will your session cover?
A. Yes, I will be co-presenting a session called Building a Bullet Proof ROI. This will be a great session for anyone interested in financial modeling. I hope you can attend!

Come visit us at .NEXT!
Nutanix .NEXT is scheduled for June 8-10, 2015 in Fontainebleau, Florida. For more information and to register for the user conference, please visit:

.NEXT Session Abstract: Building a Bullet Proof ROI
In this strategic session, a seasoned industry executive will moderate a panel of Nutanix customer CIOs to show you how to construct a strong business case for new IT investments. Proven best practices will be shared, equipping you with the right strategies to sell your return on investment (ROI) plan to the CFO and CIO. You will learn the fundamentals of financial modeling, helping to build support for projects – both proposed and approved. The session will conclude with the datacenter professionals explaining how they used financial modeling to achieve their companies’ business and IT objectives.

By attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Determine what types of projects and investments should be supported by ROI or TCO models
  • Learn how to build a compelling business case to win project approval and secure funding from your executive management team
  • Hear best practices from successful datacenter executives, explaining how they used financial modeling to achieve their objectives