Easily Managing Access to Healthcare’s Multiple Systems

Dean Wiech
Dean Wiech

Dean Wiech, managing director, Tools4ever.  

In any industry passwords can be a hassle to manage, but perhaps this is no more true than healthcare. Password strategies are put in place to keep data secure, including patient’s information, but they often cause headaches for clinicians. And since every minute matters in the clinical setting, any process that takes longer than necessary can become a major problem when patient outcomes hang in the balance.

Since providers often need to access their own systems, as well as patient data and treatment history quickly, to assist patients, something as simple as getting locked out of systems or forgetting credentials to accounts is time consumer and tedious to overcome. Contacting the helpdesk and waiting to get passwords reset wastes what little time caregivers have to with patients. Simplifying password resets can give critical time back to caregivers and support staff in the care setting.

Easier said than done, of course. Many healthcare organizations resist implementing any type of password solution because they don’t want to bombard clinicians with yet another new technology. One of the major reasons being that they assume the implementation and training time are lengthy and because they’re currently bogged down by a variety of other pressing issues, such as meaningful use and preparing for the transition to ICD-10 in October 2015.

Also, because healthcare organizations must abide by strict rules and regulations, implementing password solutions can sometimes be an issue. In addition, healthcare’s leaders need to ensure that any new technologies implemented follow these regulations.

An Easy Solution to Password Reset Issues

Several leading healthcare organizations have opted to use self-service password reset solutions to easily solve their password reset issues. Just as banking websites allow consumers to reset their passwords, end users can easily reset their passwords after correctly answering security questions that they previously provided answers to. Clinicians simply click the “forgot my password” button and can easily reset their password from anywhere at any time. This allows clinicians to proactively solve the problem without have to contact another department for help.

Many password reset solutions can now easily integrate with healthcare systems and applications. This means that end users are able to reset their password in each and every system that is needed to perform their jobs.

Misconceptions Regarding Password Solutions

Many healthcare organizations are skeptical about implementing another solution; they believe it to be labor intensive and fear that all employees will need to be trained on how to utilize the solution. In actuality, there is almost no training needed. Since many people are already familiar with this type of solution from personal use, they already feel comfortable with it. The last thing that busy clinicians need is another new technology to learn and remember how to use.

Since healthcare organizations have to abide by strict rules, regulations and compliance, many vendors also provide reporting options. Managers can setup the solution to have it send an email to them each week with information on who reset their passwords and which computer they did it from. This allows them to see exactly who is using the solution, as well as keep a trail of who reset their passwords if any issues occur.

Case In Point

South County Hospital was one such organization dealing with password reset issues. The help desk was averaging 20 to 25 password resets a month. Each reset required about half an hour to complete because of the arduous process of receiving the call, placing a work order, resetting the password and then contacting the users, most of whom were busy clinicians.

The hospital needed, and found, a password reset solution that helped with password resets, integrated with its Outlook Web Access page and integrated with Meditech, the hospital information system, to synchronize the passwords.

The password reset solution was set up to work with three different applications at the hospital; Outlook Web Access for email, the standard Windows credential provider, when logging onto to the computer, as well as remote web access for people working outside the network. The hospital was even able to modify the security questions that users would be asked when resetting their passwords.

“The ability to choose questions that have an answer that only the user would know yet are easy to remember is important,” said Ken Hedglen, information technology manager at South County Hospital.

With the solution in place, users no longer have to spend precious time contacting the help desk and waiting for a reply to their password reset request. They are now able to answer a series of security questions and quickly reset their own password. Additionally, the hospital leaders were able to quickly implement the solution and no additional training was needed.

 

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