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Provider adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) has more than doubled in the decade since the HITECH Act was enacted, driven largely by the incentive payments tied to Meaningful Use. These digital technologies have become critical to the operation of healthcare practices, but they don’t come without challenges.
The transition from a paper-based system to one reliant on electronic data transfer puts new pressure on healthcare delivery organizations to secure clinical information systems while meeting stringent regulatory and compliance standards. At the same time, physicians are seeing increased patient volumes with less time for each patient during an office visit. In many cases, the technology that’s critical to the operation of their practice and to effective patient care now causes additional frustration as they log in and out of applications in a constantly interrupted clinical workflow.
Part of the challenge comes from efforts to make these digital healthcare applications more effective and user-friendly. Dynamic user interfaces deliver personalized experiences for each user, whether that’s a nurse accessing a chart in the EHR or a caregiver logging into a patient portal. The application’s interface is customized based on who that individual is and their pre-determined level of access. These individuals are authenticated and granted access with the help of standards-based identity and access management software.
Identity and access management (IAM) is a critical foundation for what, up until now, has been elusive in healthcare—more “customer-centric” experiences. How well that software works, and how easy it is to work with, however, has a huge impact on how successful the application is.
Mike O’Marra, strategic account executive at Identity Automation Healthcare, explains. “By automating manual tasks associated with providing users access to the resources needed to provide patient care, IT and HR resources can be redeployed to higher-value initiatives. A successful IAM platform allows the organization to increase provider efficiency while strengthening its security posture—goals which are typically at odds with one another.”
Identity management was described by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) as “a broad discipline that establishes the identity of individuals within a system (an enterprise, a network, a device, or a software application) in order to control access to resources based on the rights and restrictions associated with that identity.”
IAM can’t be considered alone, however. In fact, the Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (H-ISAC) recently released an identity management framework for the healthcare sector. Among other observations, researchers noted: “Authentication, provisioning, authorization, and access control—these are all important technologies on their own. When treated as point solutions and deployed in isolation, they fail to deliver a holistic approach to identity that can protect against identity-centric attacks.”
The challenge extends beyond security and protection to usability and the impact on care and care givers.
ONC’s Interoperability Roadmap highlights the role of identity and access management in helping to standardize, accurately capture, and share data across systems and diverse stakeholder groups. Simply put, identity and access management is a pre-condition of interoperability—and by extension, to well-orchestrated, team-base care.
Best practices for identity and access management require an approach that lets providers protect sensitive data while also streamlining clinical and administrative workflows. Healthcare organizations must be able to meet or exceed regulatory compliance standards without sacrificing productivity and efficiency. And they must be able to manage and mitigate the risks associated with diverse stakeholders, including employees, contractors, vendors, consultants, and others.
Med Tech Solutions has partnered with Identity Automation to help healthcare organizations meet these best practices. Together, we can help secure the new perimeter and increase business agility for healthcare providers.
Identity Automation’s RapidIdentity platform is the most complete identity and access management platform on the market. Purpose-built to address the needs of healthcare’s mission-critical environments, it helps healthcare providers increase organizational efficiency and security, while improving the level of patient care. Identity Automation’s RapidIdentity was named a Category Leader in the Identity & Access Management segment of the 2020 Best in KLAS: Software & Services report by KLAS Research.
The RapidIdentity platform includes capabilities from EPCS for securing e-prescription workflows, to automated identity lifecycle management for all users. Enterprise single sign-on (SSO) capabilities are included with QwickAccess, which provides fast, secure access to local and virtual desktops using employee badges. This improves clinician efficiency in mixed IT environments and strengthens desktop security and patient data privacy.
By partnering with Identity Automation, Med Tech Solutions can make healthcare organizations more secure while improving interoperability. The result is a better experience for both caregivers and their patients.