A Valuable LessonBy Bill McQuaid | Posted 2010-04-08 Email Print
Modernizing Authentication — What It Takes to Transform Secure Access
A Maine hospital merged all its data into one Health Care Information System and deployed a single sign-on solution combined with biometrics.
A Valuable Lesson
With SSO and finger biometrics, the IT team was able to deliver full access to all hospital information with just one finger, which resolved the hospital’s security issues. (See “A Healthy Prescription” below.) In just six months, the IT staff implemented 29 MEDITECH modules, and shortly after that, the number grew to 43 modules. Within two days, the SSO solution was up and running.
Educating clinicians, staff, IT personnel and others helped us introduce the new technology. You can spend all you want on IT, but there’s nothing more powerful than education to overcome user resistance.
Bringing users on board early is crucial. If the value of the technology to them is obvious, they will make the adoption simpler and faster.
We also learned that conducting a comprehensive review of available solutions is invaluable. We discovered the importance of tying strong authentication with SSO, and learned that combining finger biometrics with SSO was an easy, efficient way to strengthen security, improve productivity and save money.
Perhaps what is most gratifying to us is that Parkview, a small hospital in Maine with a shoestring IT budget, became the 23rd hospital organization in North America to achieve Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics Stage 6 status. (See “Reaching Stage 6” below.) Only 90 hospitals out of 5,166 are on the Stage 6 list.
Overall, the SSO and finger biometrics deployment eliminated the need for physicians and staff to memorize multiple passwords. With the help of our partners, we have cut help desk costs and improved employee productivity. Plus, clinicians are spending less time logging in and out of network applications—which has improved the security of patient data and overall patient care.
Bill McQuaid, the CIO and assistant vice president at Parkview Adventist Medical Center, is responsible for setting the center’s IT and security strategies, selecting vendors and implementing secure, cost-effective technology systems.