Identity Access Management: Protecting Sensitive Healthcare Data

Identity Access Management: how to protect healthcare data?

Healthcare software has long been used without considering how sensitive integrated data is. Now hospital authorities are having to make sure they control and monitor access to secure medical information: patient records, administrative management, etc. Identity Access Management (IAM) solutions provide the answer to this problem by formalising software access and relevance while answering users’ everyday needs.

Identity Access Management (IAM) is a genuine strategy to ensuring healthcare data remains confidential. It manages access rights and establishes a password policy to give users secure access to medical documents, reports and other files in healthcare IT systems.

Passwords within healthcare departments

As healthcare IT systems (SIS) have developed to help healthcare professionals, the number of applications, servers and databases used has also increased. However, practitioners and physicians have not had time to change how they go about their daily work. For example, to save time and access information quickly over recent years, passwords were passed around healthcare departments without being controlled or having any defined authorisation. Similarly, unsecured networks and messaging services have been transmitting sensitive medical data.

Securing access and making usage easier

The next challenge hospitals now face is the security of healthcare IT systems through IAM solutions. These solutions provide a framework to manage workers’ identities and define how they access systems and their roles and privileges within the hospital. Identity access management offers features such as single sign-on, centralising every hospital workers’ identity in an establishment’s directory, and therefore make it possible to add new workers, delete old ones, manage these users, control their access and run the system.

This clearly helps users and – most importantly – saves time. Physicians do not have time to manually log in and out of the hospital’s software several times a day. Planning each physician’s authorisation based on their related ward, department or speciality, combined with a proper single sign-on solution (SSO) allows each worker to get access as soon as they arrive and only have to log into their session once. Senior IT hospital staff ensure their system is secure by centralising the management of identities and access.

An essential part of patient care within regional hospital groups

The way patients are cared for and the move towards more regionalised treatment will result in more users needing access to different types of professional software rapidly to help care for those admitted to hospital within a regional group. With this in mind, and when integrating IT systems, a shared IAM solution for every member institution seems to be the only alternative to ensure optimal data security as well as supporting better, safer patient care. It gives managers the answers to questions such as “Who can access what?”, “Is this access appropriate?”, and “Is this access being used suitably?” These new processes are starting to be used on a daily basis.

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