Connection from home to Heilsugæslan

Helmut Neukirchen, 23. March 2020

Most of the approaches to run at home the medical software used by medical doctors in Iceland use a so called remote desktop, i.e. the software actually runs on some server and you run only a remote desktop client that accesses these servers. The remote desktop approach means that your keystrokes and mouse clicks are sent to the server, processed there, and the server sends then the screen contents to be displayed back to you that is then displayed on your monitor.

This has the advantage that you need only to install the remote desktop client at home on your computer. If necessary, the remote desktop client runs even on an iPad or Android tablet.

The disadvantage of the remote desktop approach is that the server might be overloaded if all the healthcare staff works from home and connects to these servers. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

To prevent unnecessary load on the servers of our healthcare system:

  • things that can be done on your local computer should also be done on your local computer, e.g. browse the web not inside the remote desktop client, but rather start the web browser on your computer. For example, you can read email via you local web browser: http://365.hg.is/ -- as username, enter hg\your username. Also Workplace can be opened in your local web browser.
  • Think about things: do things that are not urgent in the evening: the system has then less load and is therefore faster.

Landspítali

As far as I know, LSH uses the Citrix remote desktop.

You should be able to download the needed software from https://www.citrix.com/downloads/workspace-app/ (Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X, Linux, iPad and Android tablets supported. It seems even to run in a web browser, but I have no experience with this.)

You hopefully got all necessary instructions from your system administrator as I am not familiar with the details.

Heilsugæsla höfuðborgarsvæðisins

Heilsugæslan uses the Microsoft remote desktop. You should be able to download the needed client software from here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/remote/remote-desktop-services/clients/remote-desktop-clients

General steps

You should have gotten instructions from your system administrator. But in general, you will be doing two main steps (Note: whenever the text below refers to your username, replace it by your Heilsugæslan username):

  1. Download a file of type RDP that tells the remote desktop client which server it shall connect to: this first step is done via a web browser. The description of this Step 1 is therefore independent from the used operating system.
  2. Start the remote desktop client and tell it to use the downloaded RDP file -- this is specific for each operating system: Step 2. Windows, Step 2. Mac, Step 2. Android, Step 2. iOS, and Step 2. Linux.

    Note: at each log in, you will get a robot phone call from Microsoft USA (similar to Rafræn Skilríki that is made to be sure that it is really you -- or at least person that can answer your phone) that you need to confirm by pressing # on the keypad. Below, you see the keypad icon that you need to click during a call in order to get the keypad:

1. Download RDP file

In principle, you need to do this step only once in order to obtain the RDP file (and use that saved file next time without needing to download it again) -- but if you cannot find where that file was saved, it is also possible to repeat this step over and over again:

  1. Enter in the address line of your web browser https://ts.hg.is

  2. enter hg\your username and password (that you use also at Heilsugæsla) and click Sign in

  3. After clicking at Sign in, you should see a new web page that displays Current folder: /.

    • If the area below Current folder: / displays a computer screen icon named Heilsugæslan (as above), everything is OK.
    • If the area below Current folder: / is empty, then you need to send your system administrator an email to ask for access; and as you later will be called at every login by a computer to confirm that it is really you logging in, you need to tell your system administrator also you mobile phone number. Once your system administrator processed your email, start again from step 1.
  4. By clicking on the Heilsugæslan icon (below Current folder: /), your web browser will download a file of type RDP with name cpub-TEST_2019-TEST_2019-CmsRdsh.rdp.

If you have problems with the above steps, see also this step-by-step video.

If you have a remote desktop client installed, it might be that the downloaded RDP file is automatically opened by the remote desktop client. Otherwise, see the next steps that are specific to each operating system.

2. Microsoft Windows: Start remote desktop client

  • If you have a remote desktop client installed, opening the cpub-TEST_2019-TEST_2019-CmsRdsh RDP file downloaded before will open your remote desktop client that connects then to the server of Heilsugæslan.
  • Windows probably asks you whether you trust that file. As you downloaded it from Heilsugæslan, you can trust it.
  • You should now see a dialog that asks you for your username and password: Enter (even though you did it already in the browser to download the RDP files) hg\your username and password (that you use also at Heilsugæsla).
  • To check that it is really you who logs in, you will get an automated phone call from Microsoft in the US: accept the call on your phone and confirm the login by pressing # on your phone. (To be able to press # during an active call, there is typical some number key pad icon that you can click in order to press numbers or #.)
  • Finally, you should now see a Microsoft Windows desktop that gives you access to all the programs that you are used to (Saga, etc.)

If you have problems with the above steps, see also this step-by-step video.

2. Apple Mac OS X: Start remote desktop client

  • First, you need to install the remote desktop client for Apple by following the first two steps described on https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/remote/remote-desktop-services/clients/remote-desktop-mac#get-the-remote-desktop-client
  • Start the installed remote desktop client.
  • Import now the downloaded RDP file cpub-TEST_2019-TEST_2019-CmsRdsh as shown in the screenshot below:

  • After successful import, you should see in the remote desktop client a huge icon representing the connection described by the imported RDP file cpub-TEST_2019-TEST_2019-CmsRdsh.

  • Double click in the remote desktop client on that icon and you should be asked for your username and password to connect to the server: Enter hg\your username and password (that you use also at Heilsugæsla).

  • To check that it is really you who logs in, you will get an automated phone call from Microsoft in the US: accept the call on your phone and confirm the login by pressing # on your phone. (To be able to press # during an active call, there is typical some number key pad icon that you can click in order to press numbers or #.)
  • Finally, you should now see a Microsoft Windows desktop that gives you access to all the programs that you are used to (Saga, etc.)

2. Android (incl. Chromebooks): Start remote desktop client

  • Install the Microsoft remote desktop app from Google Play.
  • If you do the above step 1. Download RDP file, and open the downloaded file, the app should start automatically and connect you to the server.
  • You should now be be asked for your username and password to connect to the server: Enter hg\your username and password (that you use also at Heilsugæsla).
  • While you can use the onscreen keyboard via the icon on top of the screen, you want to connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and preferably also a bigger screen, e.g. cast it to your TV via, e.g., ChromeCast (need to connect a ChromeCast receiver to your TV) or Miracast (or whatever your Android device and you TV supports).
  • To check that it is really you who logs in, you will get an automated phone call from Microsoft in the US: accept the call on your phone and confirm the login by pressing # on your phone. (To be able to press # during an active call, there is typical some number key pad icon that you can click in order to press numbers or #.)
  • Finally, you should now see a Microsoft Windows desktop that gives you access to all the programs that you are used to (Saga, etc.)

If you want to start the remote desktop connection a second time, you can either download it again and open the downloaded file or re-use the already downloaded file. Unfortunately, not all file tools are aware that the Microsoft remote desktop app is to be used to open the RDP file. I installed the Total Commander app that knows about that association.

In case, you are stuck: please contact me, I can add Android screenshots later.

2. iOS: Start remote desktop client

  • Install the Microsoft Remote Desktop app from the iOS App store.
  • If you do the above step 1. Download RDP file, and open the downloaded file, the app should start automatically and connect you to the server.
    • If it does not start: try to open the file in the viewer that provides a three dot icon labelled More.

    • Then select Copy to RD Client

  • You should now be be asked for your username and password to connect to the server: Enter hg\your username and password (that you use also at Heilsugæsla).

  • While you can use the onscreen keyboard via the icon on top of the screen, you want to connect a Bluetooth keyboard (mice are unfortunately not well supported) and preferably also a bigger screen, e.g. mirror it to your TV via AppleTV.
  • To check that it is really you who logs in, you will get an automated phone call from Microsoft in the US: accept the call on your phone and confirm the login by pressing # on your phone. (To be able to press # during an active call, there is typical some number key pad icon that you can click in order to press numbers or #.)
  • Finally, you should now see a Microsoft Windows desktop that gives you access to all the programs that you are used to (Saga, etc.)

2. Linux: Start remote desktop client

There is no Linux remote desktop client that works (i tried Remmina, which seems to be the only one to understand RDP files, with command line parameter -c to pass the RDP file, but it did not work), so you need to install a virtual machine that runs Microsoft Windows (this should also work on Mac in case the remote desktop client does not work).

  • Install the VirtualBox virtual machine via your package manager.
    • If your packet manager does not offer VirtualBox, you can download and install it manually. (But it has a lot of dependencies, so rather use your packet manager if possible.)
  • You need a virtual machine image that contains a full Microsoft Windows operating system: you can download it for free from Microsoft (works 90 days only, download is 6GB and takes 30-60 minutes).
  • Start the virtual machine as shown in this video. Password is Passw0rd! (with uppercase P and a zero instead of the letter o) -- once logged in, you can also change the password.
  • Configure the virtual machine (e.g. set Icelandic keyboard layout in Microsoft Windows) as shown in this video.
    • Not shown in video: Not that important, but may you want to change the timezone to Icelandic time,
  • Download the RDP file as described in Step 1. above and as shown in this video.
  • Start the remote desktop client as described in Step 2. Microsoft Windows: Start remote desktop client above and as shown in this video.

Each morning, you might boot your Linux system and login there using your Linux username and password, then start virtualbox and boot there into Microsoft Windows using password Passw0rd! (unless you changed it) and finally you start in that Microsoft Windows the remote desktop client and login using your Heilsugæslan username and password.

It is probably most convenient to work in fullscreen mode (you can activate and de-activate it by pressing the right CTRL key and f at the same time.

After some time of inactivity, the screensaver of the Microsoft Windows running in your virtualbox may become active. If you click anywhere, you will notice the username IEUser, so you need to the password Passw0rd! (unless you changed it) to unlock that screensaver.

Do not hesitate to contact me on case of questions.

Troubleshooting

  • At my first try to connect via the remote desktop client, I got an error: I then tried simply again, then it worked.
  • The font size of the Windows desktop running in the remote desktop client is rather small and it seems not possible to change it. So if you use a laptop, you may want to connect a bigger monitor that is bigger your laptop screen.
  • For making phone calls to patients, it should also be possible to use at least with Windows and Mac the computer phone from home, but I did not tackle that yet.

You are welcome to contact me if you have problems (being a Computer Scientist I can maybe also help you with problems if you use e.g. Mac or Windows even though I have most experience with Linux and Android).