CareCloud Blog

Single Sign-On is Your Next Big Investment

There are literally hundreds of EHR features you need to worry about before you make a decision to purchase – from ePrescriptions to narrative note-taking functions.

There seems to be a misconception correlating the amount of EHR features with the quality of the system, much like cars, but it’s the power under the hood and a few key features that ensure quality and trustworthiness.

Single sign-on is quickly growing on the list of quality-ensuring features an EHR must have. Read on to learn why SSO is becoming the EHR’s version of an A/C system.

Faster Adoption
Despite the benefits and cutting-edge functionality EHRs can provide healthcare centers, any new technology faces challenges. Single sign-on is one way to assuage these difficulties, promoting faster adoption of EHRs in medical practices.

You must have clinician acceptance of EHRs to increase the rate of adoption. To get that, EHRs should be effective and productive, beginning with solving the ‘authentication’ problem. Some EHRs require physicians to log in to the EHR itself and, in the case of certain EHRs, log into again to access some of the individual applications.

Single sign-on is a step in the right direction. SSO ensures you sign-on once, confidently, with strong authentication. Depending on your SSO capabilities, you may enjoy fingerprint biometrics and one-time password tokens, and different appropriate methods depend on the specialty and size of the practice.

Furthermore, it’s easy to leave patient data unattended in a high-stress, hectic situation, which is often the case in busy practices. Single-sign on systems use fingerprint, mobile phone or facial recognition software to identify the clinician who has authenticated at the workstation.

Save Money
Complicated login processes deter access to EHRs, leading to average losses of $2 million a year for hospitals. Single sign-on is meant to curb this waste and increase efficiency for healthcare providers.

Clinicians have an average of 6.4 passwords without SSO, killing productivity and delaying patient treatment in emergency care settings. Furthermore, lost, forgotten and compromised passwords overwork IT departments. All of this translates to absurd amounts of costs, naturally.

The Ponemon Institute’s 2011 survey about how SSO is changing healthcare examines the economic impact of failure to log into EHRs, calculating that adoption of an access-management system can save $2,675 in costs per clinician.

According to founder and chairman Dr. Larry Ponemon, single sign-on is “an efficiency issue improvement [and] security is improved as well.”

Meaningful Use
Meaningful Use pressure is driving computerized physician order entry (CPOE), even if doctors are refusing changes to their workflows. However, SSO helps engage physicians in CPOE use, namely because it significantly reduces the hassle of logging into multiple computer applications simultaneously.

By getting doctors to engage in CPOE, SSO helps practices knock a Stage 1 Meaningful Use core measure of to-do lists. Single sign-on capabilities streamline access to important computer applications at the point of care, allowing the physician to handle computerized tasks, i.e., ordering lab tests, swiftly.

Furthermore, SSO simplifies and encourages information exchange, and sharing clinical information security is among the key requirements of Stage 1 Meaningful Use.

Lastly, mobility is among the key drivers of Meaningful Use. Physicians are becoming increasingly mobile, often working remotely, and they need access to updated patient information at the drop of a hat. SSO helps physicians satisfy this need by helping them secure personal health information (PHI) data from their mobile device of care, helping not only with Meaningful Use attestation but improving delivery of patient care.

Have you considered acquiring an SSO system for your EHR?

  • Mark Egge

    While SSO is a desirable feature in any enterprise application, you reader should be cautioned that the only value of SSO is that it eliminates a single step from the sign-on process for the application. If creating a visit note requires (quite conservatively) 50 actions, and a clinician creates 20 visit notes per day once logged in, SSO could potentially reduce the number of steps in your clinician’s daily workflow by 1/1000th. How much better to choose a product based on the efficiency of its note-composer?

    Moreover, the cost-data cited above refers to a hospital setting, where hospital staff often have to switch between multiple cumbersome and incomplete applications throughout the day. This data is not suggestive of the ambulatory environment where, in most cases, clinicians will use a single system only.

  • Ed Ricks

    I couldn’t agree more. Our facility, Beaufort Memorial Hospital, has been using Single Sign-On from Imprivata for more than  18 months and have found it to be very impactful when it comes to all of the things you mentioned – increased physician use and adoption of the EMR, time savings for the physicians, cost savings for the facility. We are currently running Imprivata’s OneSign in three environment types at Beaufort: in standalone office PCs, generic public PCs, and across virtual desktops using VMware View. In fact, the users here have been  so receptive to the roaming sessions that we’re now looking at replacing all traditional PCs with the necessary thin clients.  
    SSO is the underpinning for all workflow efficiency and productivity, and holds tremendous value to both our physicians and our IT staff. SSO enables the entire organization to save time and money and improve processes and care. Our physicians appreciate that we’ve made it easy for them to authenticate to log onto the EMR and, in doing so, allowed them to avoid timely obstacles like forgotten passwords, multiple logins and distractions that take them away from their primary objectives – delivery great health care. From our end, we appreciate the multiple levels of security it supports as well as the satisfaction our care teams are conveying to us.

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