How Gundersen Health System is securing its EMR without impacting clinical access

May 01, 2017

As electronic medical records play an increasingly central role in all aspects of healthcare, many organizations struggle with how to make their EMRs more secure without making it harder for doctors and other medical professionals to access, analyze and share patient data.

Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin, recently leveraged an innovative solution that provided two-factor authentication workflow for e-prescriptions, while giving clinicians fast, easy access to patient records. In a recent webinar, Kendall Bramwell, Clinical Informaticist at

Gundersen, discussed how and why the health system chose to secure their Epic EMR with Imprivata OneSign and Imprivata Confirm ID.

Nearly 10 years ago, Gundersen began to implement Epic for inpatient and ambulatory, but found that without a single-sign on (SSO) solution, usernames and passwords made access cumbersome for clinicians. In 2014, Gundersen decided to implement Imprivata OneSign for SSO, and then in the fall of 2015, added an additional layer of security by beginning their rollout of Imprivata OneSign and Imprivata Confirm ID for EPCS.

Gundersen chose to implement Imprivata OneSign and Imprivata Confirm ID for EPCS together because it offered seamless Epic integration, a simple platform to manage, consistent administration and reporting, and an end-to-end solution that met EPCS compliance requirements.

Before implementing Imprivata Confirm ID for EPCS, Gundersen’s patients and providers faced a number of challenges with manual prescriptions. First, patients found it burdensome to travel long distances to see primary care physicians for refills, while clinicians felt they should be able to refill prescriptions electronically for the patients they already knew. In addition, Gundersen’s clinicians were printing paper prescriptions to centralized printing stations, increasing the risk of theft and contributing to the prescription fraud at the center of the nation’s opioid epidemic. As providers and patients became more frustrated with inefficient dual workflows, Gundersen knew they needed a single, centralized platform that could allow providers to work more productively.

After implementing Imprivata OneSign and Imprivata Confirm ID, Gundersen reported a significant reduction in paper prescriptions and a 7X increase in EPCS within 4 months. Additionally, they noticed improved provider workflow efficiency, increased patient satisfaction, and a reduced risk in prescription theft and fraud.

During the webinar, Gundersen offered tips for success for organizations looking to implement a single, efficient workflow, including:

  • Communication is essential and responsibilities should be delegated
  • Before deciding on a project, hospitals must understand the complexity it may bring and develop a comprehensive rollout plan to tackle it
  • It’s important to ensure device placement is consistent throughout
  • Organizations conduct pharmacy outreach before going live

With SSO and EPCS, Gundersen has simplified access, improved workflow efficiency, enhanced clinician satisfaction and upgraded patient safety—all while achieving higher satisfaction among clinicians and patients. In the future, Gundersen plans to expand reporting for EPCS, enable remote EPCS, and consider additional authentication options, like the Imprivata push token.

Listen to the full webinar here: