Reaching Stage 6 Status with Imprivata

Bill McQuaid
Feb 03, 2012

Thanks David.

We’re very proud of our accomplishment of being only one of a handful of hospitals that have been awarded with HIMSS Analytics Stage 6 status, especially when you consider our relatively small size compared to the many other bigger hospitals with larger IT departments trying to accomplish the same thing. Moving to an EMR format and a paperless environment requires a significant commitment from the executive team and from our clinicians.

As we began our move to EMR, we had two major concerns. 1 – Can we maintain patient data security and HIPAA compliance in an electronic format? 2 – Will the clinicians buy into what we’re doing and use the technologies we provide? These are two critical components in achieving Stage 6 status.

Training for Success
To address the concerns simultaneously, we knew that we had to come up with a solution that would get immediate buy-in from our clinicians. If you don’t have people internally using the systems and championing them for you with their colleagues and peers, it makes the road to full scale EMR a very difficult one.

This has been one of the secrets to our success – we haven’t forced any of our doctors to use the systems we implement. Instead, we work with the people who want to be worked with, and then let the rest come to us once they see how easy and successful it is.

A great example of this is when we started asking doctors to do computerized physician order entry (CPOE), which requires all doctors to do their own ordering using a computer. There was some hesitancy on the part of the doctors when we asked them to do their own ordering. The chief concern was accessing the necessary systems – doctors kept telling us “there’s no way we can log in – we won’t be able to remember all the passwords.”

To address these concerns, we used Imprivata OneSign to create a zero sign-on environment through the use of biometric authentication. We went live and gave access to a few people – when other clinicians saw how well it worked, they all wanted to use it. But here’s the key – we made them sign up for training and went through the whole process with them individually. By providing a quick and easy tutorial on the technology, we were able to mitigate any concerns of using the technology. The result is that the doctors loved it, and we use this technology in all of the physician practices now.

Not only did we get a groundswell movement on the part of clinicians to use the technology, but we also solved our core data security issues. Biometric authentication considerably increases productivity, but also ensures that only the properly credentialed users are accessing sensitive information. This level of strong authentication meant that clinical staff now had the ability to walk up to any workstation and securely log into the network, providing the real-time, secure access needed to provide superior care to our patients.

In fact, it’s worked so well, we’re rolling it out to secure remote access as well. We’ve set up virtual desktops for some doctors, so when they log in remotely, they log in once and get the security of single sign-on. So now, no matter where they are, they get their own desktop – they can print orders and do what they need to do from anywhere in the country.

The road to Stage 6 status can be a tough journey. What we’ve learned along the way is that technology alone isn’t the solution – educating the staff on the value of the technology is the most powerful tool in your arsenal.

If you’re currently working on similar projects, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how the project is progressing and if you have great tips to share for others too.