HIStalk: Responses to “Readers Write”

By David Ting

I find it interesting that Mr. Wiech highlights the fact that “Many IT managers and security officers are skeptical about the implementation of an SSO solution”. These security concerns and other technical limitations were predicated on previous generations of SSO that were difficult to implement, costly to support and could only work with a limited range of applications. A whole new generation of solutions since then has been created to mitigate those concerns and has now made Single Sign On a proven, cost-effective and strategic asset for IT to leverage. This is supported by the new Gartner Hype Cycle for Healthcare Provider Technologies and Standards that echoes this sentiment and doesn’t even include SSO this year due to its wide acceptance, predictability and stability. Millions of users – nearly 3 million OneSign users alone – rely on and appreciate SSO every day for eliminating repeated manual log-ins/offs to multiple applications. In healthcare, SSO has become a pivotal element of secure workflow productivity projects that include even more dramatic technologies such as desktop virtualization, re-authentication at the point of e-prescribing, walk-away security and streamlined workflow. It is SSO that makes these productivity boosting technologies possible by securing the user’s access to protected health information without slowing workflows.

Like Mr. Wiech, I also see a rapid increase in Strong Authentication among our customers. Combining SA with SSO helps to strike that balance between security and efficiency, which increases user satisfaction, and ultimately speeds EMR adoption. SA technologies like finger biometrics and proximity cards – especially when combined with desktop virtualization – are having a huge impact on workflows. SSO is at the core of secure roaming access projects that enable healthcare’s highly mobile workforces to save clicks – and substantial time – as they securely access the data at desktops that follow users throughout the day. The highly acclaimed Charlotte Bloomberg Children’s Center and Sheik Zayed Tower (John’s Hopkins) is a wonderful example of the role that SSO can play in a “Tap and Go” solution that speeds productivity, increases security and enhances care delivery.

I think Gartner research VP, Barry Runyon’s report on SSO in the Real Time Healthcare System says it best where he outlines how SSO is moving beyond its original value proposition of reducing the password burden and streamlining user access. It may not be the most flashy technology, but SSO is the essential piece of the puzzle that makes the more exciting workflow productivity projects possible. SSO has come a long way, and it continues to play an increasingly critical role as the healthcare industry evolves into the digital age.