Tag Archives: slow

Citrix’s performance analytics service gets granular

Citrix introduced an analytics service to help IT professionals better identify the cause of slow application performance within its Virtual Apps and Desktops platform.

The company announced the general availability of the service, called Citrix Analytics for Performance, at its Citrix Summit, an event for the company’s business partners, in Orlando on Monday. The service carries an additional cost.

Steve Wilson, the company’s vice president of product for workspace ecosystem and analytics, said many IT admins must deal with performance problems as part of the nature of distributed applications. When they receive a call from workers complaining about performance, he said, it’s hard to determine the root cause — be it a capacity issue, a network problem or an issue with the employee’s device.

Performance, he said, is a frequent pain point for employees, especially remote and international workers.

“There are huge challenges that, from a performance perspective, are really hard to understand,” he said, adding that the tools available to IT professionals have not been ideal in identifying issues. “It’s all been very technical, very down in the weeds … it’s been hard to understand what [users] are seeing and how to make that actionable.”

Part of the problem, according to Wilson, is that traditional performance-measuring tools focus on server infrastructure. Keeping track of such metrics is important, he said, but they do not tell the whole story.

“Often, what [IT professionals] got was the aggregate view; it wasn’t personalized,” he said.

When the aggregate performance of the IT infrastructure is “good,” Wilson said, that could mean that half an organization’s users are seeing good performance, a quarter are seeing great performance, but a quarter are experiencing poor performance.

Steve Wilson, vice president of product for workspace ecosystem and analytics, CitrixSteve Wilson

With its performance analytics service, Citrix is offering a more granular picture of performance by providing metrics on individual employees, beyond those of the company as a whole. That measurement, which Citrix calls a user experience or UX score, evaluates such factors as an employee’s machine performance, user logon time, network latency and network stability.

“With this tool, as a system administrator, you can come in and see the entire population,” Wilson said. “It starts with the top-level experience score, but you can very quickly break that down [to personal performance].”

Wilson said IT admins who had tested the product said this information helped them address performance issues more expeditiously.

“The feedback we’ve gotten is that they’ve been able to very quickly get to root causes,” he said. “They’ve been able to drill down in a way that’s easy to understand.”

A proactive approach

Eric Klein, analyst, VDC Research GroupEric Klein

Eric Klein, analyst at VDC Research Group Inc., said the service represents a more proactive approach to performance problems, as opposed to identifying issues through remote access of an employee’s computer.

“If something starts to degrade from a performance perspective — like an app not behaving or slowing down — you can identify problems before users become frustrated,” he said.

Mark Bowker, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy GroupMark Bowker

Klein said IT admins would likely welcome any tool that, like this one, could “give time back” to them.

“IT is always being asked to do more with less, though budgets have slowly been growing over the past few years,” he said. “[Administrators] are always looking for tools that will not only automate processes but save time.”

Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Mark Bowker said in a press release from Citrix announcing the news that companies must examine user experience to ensure they provide employees with secure and consistent access to needed applications.

IT is always being asked to do more with less.
Eric KleinAnalyst, VDC Research Group

“Key to providing this seamless experience is having continuous visibility into network systems and applications to quickly spot and mitigate issues before they affect productivity,” he said in the release.

Wilson said the performance analytics service was the product of Citrix’s push to the cloud during the past few years. One of the early benefits of that process, he said, has been in the analytics field; the company has been able to apply machine learning to the data it has garnered and derive insights from it.

“We do see a broad opportunity around analytics,” he said. “That’s something you’ll see more and more of from us.”

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ONC urged to slow down for the sake of patient data security

Seven healthcare leadership organizations have called for federal agencies to slow down their work on proposed interoperability and information blocking rules, which are expected to be finalized by the end of 2019. Their major concern is patient data security.

In a letter to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, healthcare organizations including the American Medical Association (AMA), the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) outlined their concerns with security of healthcare data apps and a lack of security guidelines enabling third-party access to patient data.

They also worry there will be confusion about exceptions to information blocking and are concerned about implementation timelines for regulation requirements.

In February, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed rules that would require healthcare organizations to use FHIR-enabled APIs to share data with healthcare apps. They also seek to define exceptions to information blocking, or unreasonably preventing patient data from being shared. The goal of the proposed rules is to foster greater data sharing and easier patient access to healthcare data.

“The use of APIs and third-party applications has the potential to improve patient and provider access to needed health information,” the letter said. “It also brings us into uncharted territory as patients leave the protections of HIPAA behind.”

The organizations stated that they support the work to improve information sharing through the use of APIs, but they noted it is “imperative that policies be put in place to prevent inappropriate disclosures to third-parties and resultant harm to patients.”

Letter underscores patient data security concern

It’s not the first time ONC has heard concerns about patient data security.

During a U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions meeting in May, committee chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander cautioned ONC to take interoperability slow and address issues such as privacy concerns when downloading patient data to healthcare apps.

The letter echoes that caution, suggesting that certified APIs should be required to have more security features and provide patients with privacy notices and transparency statements about whether data will be disclosed or sold.  Additionally, the letter notes a lack of security guidelines for providers as they bring third-party apps into their systems, and urges ONC to require API vendors to mitigate threats and security issues that could impact the provider connected to the API.

While healthcare apps and patient data security is the biggest sticking point, healthcare leaders also outlined other areas of concern such as “reasonable timelines” for implementing the final rules, and making exceptions to information blocking clearer. The healthcare leaders asked that ONC provide more examples of actions that would satisfy the exception requirements before the final rules are implemented.

‘Getting it right’

Healthcare leaders then requested ONC continue with the rulemaking process instead of finalizing the rules as they are now, and take more time to work through the issues outlined in the letter.

Lauren Riplinger, vice president of policy and government affairs at AHIMA, said the letter is a formal message to Congress to stress the importance of slowing down and “getting it right.”

She wants the community to “make sure we’re defining things properly, that the implementation periods make sense, and that it’s reflective of the environment and landscape in which we’re currently at as we work toward implementation of these final rules — whenever it gets finalized.”

They say Mars, and this letter says Hawaii. Eventually, everyone will say the moon. That’s where we’re headed.
John HalamkaExecutive director of the health technology exploration center, Beth Israel Lahey Health

In response to the letter, ONC prepared a statement that said the organization is “mindful of the need to balance concerns of incumbent stakeholders with the rights of patients to have transparency and actionable choice in their healthcare.”

John Halamka, executive director of the health technology exploration center at Beth Israel Lahey Health in Boston, said when it comes to rulemaking, it’s better for ONC to ask for Mars and settle for the moon, which he said was the intended goal to begin with.

Because it’s part of the rulemaking process, federal agencies no doubt anticipated pushback from the healthcare community, Halamka said. Ultimately, he believes ONC is headed in the right direction, and the letter asking for the time necessary to work through the details is understandable. Fine tuning of the proposed rules, or sub-regulatory guidance, is crucial, he said. “They say Mars, and this letter says Hawaii,” Halamka said. “Eventually, everyone will say the moon. That’s where we’re headed.”

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