Fairfield Medical Center cures multiple password ailments



Employees:280 Credentialed physicians



  • Mckesson Horizon, AS/400 OS, PACS, Clinician View, Physicians Portal, Affinity, OWA, Orchard, EDM


  • Too many passwords
  • Overburdened helpdesk
  • HIPAA Compliance
  • Decrease in productivity


  • Fast and secure access to patient data
  • Productivity gains
  • Ability to track and report on access
  • 50% fewer helpdesk calls

Fairfield Medical Center, a 222-bed general acute care facility in central Ohio, had a password management problem of for staff to quickly access the data they needed, when they needed it, they had to remember several different application passwords. With an abundance of passwords, many of the staff were writing passwords down and taping them under keyboards, while other staff carried their passwords in booklets or notepads.

The business challenge

With regularly-scheduled system password changes and restrictions on password sharing required to be HIPAA compliant, Fairfield Medical Center staff continuously called the helpdesk to have forgotten passwords reset. Every time an employee forgot a password, the IT department and helpdesk—already strained from tightened budgets and reduced staff—had to devote time and resources to fix the password issue. The medical staff complained of productivity loss because accessing multiple systems with strong passwords was time consuming. Fairfield was looking to eradicate these risks by turning to a single sign-on solution.

The Imprivata OneSign solution

After comprehensive research, Fairfield determined that the single sign-on (SSO) solution would need to be appliance-based, which would offer them all of the capabilities needed as well as the required redundancy and automated backup—all critical for a hospital to provide availability and reliability for its staff.

Fairfield’s search for a solution took three months, and after extensive analysis of SSO solutions, they narrowed down their solution selection to Imprivata OneSign® and one other product. Both companies did a proof of concept (POC) of their solutions to demonstrate benefits and ease of implementation. Each POC was rolled out to 20 staff members, including doctors, IT specialists and the CFO. With the IT team reporting directly to him, Sky Gettys, CFO at Fairfield Medical Center, played a central role in this review. “As the CFO, I want to make sure that we’re investing money in areas where the ROI is evident,” said Gettys.

Since Fairfield’s IT system was completely outsourced to McKesson, it was crucial that the chosen SSO solution worked with McKesson. Applications that needed to be SSO-enabled included all McKesson Horizon Clinical Applications, Fairfield’s AS/400 OS, Fuji Picture Archiving Communications System (PACS), Clinician View and the Physician’s Portal.

Based on the results of the POC, Fairfield selected the Imprivata OneSign® SSO solution. Imprivata’s unique OneSign® Application Profile Generator (APG) automates the application mapping process for simplified SSO-enablement. Fairfield ran a pilot project prior to going live in mid-January 2008. Today, the medical center’s staff uses the solution regularly to log in to multiple applications, with 280 physicians now SSO-enabled.

The results

Imprivata’s solution provides Fairfield with greater convenience through self-service password reset for medical staff, who continuously access six to eight password-enabled applications daily. “One of the most common helpdesk calls was for password resets. Imprivata OneSign allows us to reduce these costs, and already we’ve seen a 50% drop in call volume by our enabled physicians,” said Gettys. “Moreover, Imprivata OneSign had little impact on existing user workflow and behavior.”

Imprivata OneSign helped Fairfield incorporate new SSO functionality and strong authentication management to meet their needs as they deployed new applications and initiatives. For example, Fairfield currently has a paper-based medical records system, however, it is moving toward an online system that will eventually include electronic charts which will provide doctors with information at their fingertips. They are also upgrading their physician order system for enabling online pharmaceutical orders which will require two-factor authentication for controlled prescription orders—a requirement for the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to ensure order legitimacy. Imprivata, in conjunction with McKesson, have already ensured the new solution meets the Board’s standards. Fairfield also plans to implement finger biometric capabilities to allow access to their Physician’s Portal.

“The security of patient data is a critical concern for most healthcare organizations today, but equally important is delivering solutions that increase staff productivity and deliver cost savings during these challenging economic times,” said Rob Cote, vice president of sales and marketing at Viopoint, the strategic solutions provider that implemented Imprivata OneSign at Fairfield Medical Center. “Fairfield sought a practical solution to the password management issues that was easy to deploy and easy for users to adopt— Imprivata OneSign delivered as promised.”

Like many healthcare facilities, Fairfield Medical Center is realizing the benefits of the Imprivata OneSign solution. Imprivata enables fast access to workstations and applications for authenticated users, which eliminates password management headaches and increases staff satisfaction. Fairfield medical staff can now spend less time logging in and out of network applications and more time providing care to patients.