Single Sign-On (SSO): how to improve nursing work environment
In healthcare organisations where solutions with many features are used together, single sign-on (SSO) is a safe, ergonomic tool for hospital workers, and has become even more relevant since the rise of integrated health systems.
Healthcare organisations employ many different types of workers including medical and paramedical physicians, secretaries, and logistics, finance and IT workers. Today, each domain requires its own professional software.
Multifunctional IT systems
To manage all these requirements, even more numerous software solutions are used based on what they are needed for. To put things into perspective, the 2017 Hospital IT Systems atlas recently published by the General Healthcare Directorate includes a report on 26 potential features in medicine, surgery and obstetrics services. We can see how haphazardly everything is organised from the medical office, the biology server results, the RIS, the PACS, to drug prescription, imagery examination, chemotherapy, treatment and medical analyses. The same goes for everything related to managing external consultations and interventions, operating theatres, appointments, and even systems used in decision-making and IT system medicalisation programs.
SSO is a safe, ergonomic process for hospital workers
However, all of these software programs are not meant to be used by just any old hospital worker. Each person will need to log into some programs and not others based on their job-related specialty and needs. And, depending on their role and position in the hierarchy, one worker is likely to have to use many of these tools. As a result, it is really important to not have to type in usernames and passwords every time workers need to log in as they risk wasting a lot of time – especially if their details are different for each software. This is why single sign-on (SSO) solutions have been created.
A directory to centralise identities and authorisations
While Identity Access Management (IAM) is used to improve strategy and organisation, the aim of SSO is to optimise workers’ time. It lets them log in just once for a whole session, no matter how many applications they need to access which require them to type in their username and password. Their connection is then secure and its movements can be tracked. To look at this process as a whole, the healthcare organisation establishes a directory that aims to centralise identity management and organise users’ rights based on their roles, jobs and assignments. Work involving heads of departments – especially the human resources department – is done beforehand so everyone receives their authorisation to let them log in.
An even more relevant process within integrated health systems
At a time when software publishers are mostly offering solutions which simultaneously handle different features, one can imagine in the long run that only a few software packages would be used within health services. However, the type of equipment used in healthcare services is still a mixed bag and most of them still operate on a large number of different professional software programs. Moreover, SSO is becoming an invaluable tool with the rise of integrated health systems. Indeed, as healthcare professionals are likely to have to go between several organisations within the same health system, the directory which references all hospital workers is expected to be shared within regions. Furthermore, as the merging of IT systems within integrated health systems has not quite come to fruition, we are seeing more and more solutions across regions which only further underlines how useful tools like SSO and the strategic use of IAM are.