7 Steps for Effective SSO Deployments

In the course of thousands of deployments with leading healthcare providers, we've learned a few things about what makes a successful deployment.  Here are seven critical steps for highly effective deployments that save care providers hundreds of clicks a day.

Step 1. Get power users and executive sponsorship

One of the first things you’ll want to do is identify and nurture power users and executives who understand the value of single sign-on and will champion the project in their department. If you try to deploy without these sponsors, you risk losing resources to other projects or failing to complete due to competing resources or poor issue resolution.

Step 2. Establish deployment goals and priorities

As you start, have a clear idea of the goals. Are you trying to improve security? Reduce help desk calls? Streamline workflows? Streamline EMR or CPOE adoption? Understanding and prioritizing objectives will help when you have to balance different needs or requirements. Successful deployments have a clear endpoint in mind.

Step 3. Understand end user resistance to change

Care providers are often skeptical about any new technology. Involving them early in the process and demonstrating how single sign-on will improve their access management workflows is critical to the success of the project.  For tips on how to successfully engage care providers, please view Engaging Care Providers in IT Initiatives.

Step 4. Include the right people and resources in the project

The larger the organization, the more likely it is that the deployment will touch many teams. You want to make sure that the right roles are involved in the solution design and deployment. Typical teams involved in the rollout include representatives from network, desktop, security, applications, training, power users and clinical department heads.

It's helpful to identify other projects that are going on while you are trying to complete your implementation. Do you require resources in different groups that have different priorities?  Having the right people aligned is essential to the success of a web single sign-on installation.

Step 5. Train people at all phases 

Prepare your team and the end users for the change. Start with training the IT team, then train the power users and help desk personnel that will be supporting end users. Finally, set a goal to train and enroll 60-70% of the end-users shortly before the roll-out.  You will catch the remaining users during the rollout, so it is important that you have representation available early on to catch those who need assistance. For tips on creative ways to train physicians, see Engaging Care Providers in IT Initiatives.

Step 6. Test thoroughly 

Build a test environment that mirrors the production environment.  Consider different device types, operating systems and software packages that are installed such as disk encryption, VPN and remote control software, as these all come in to play when deploying and testing a new remote desktop application.  Test actual user workflows such as user switching, application shutdown on switching, and auto launching of applications that you have configured.  Go back to the feedback you gathered doing the workflow walk-throughs to ensure that you are testing how the care providers will actually use the systems.

Step 7. Market the solution

Good marketing goes a long way towards rapid adoption. Let people know what's coming before it gets there, and what benefits and changes they can expect. Leading hospitals we have worked with create posters, flyers and PC stickers to build up interest and get their users excited about the deployment. Imprivata has developed deployment materials that you can customize. Successful deployments use a variety of techniques, sometimes including physician advocates, to generate buzz around the single sign-on and access management deployment before it happens.

Need help with your deployment?

Imprivata Professional Services has helped hundreds of healthcare organizations with successful deployments; please contact us services@imprivata.com to learn how we can help you.