We’ve learned time and time again that tailored solutions are the best ways to handle pain points in the healthcare industry. When the HHS called for a reduction in hospital acquired infections, we saw the implementation of antimicrobial medical computers. When concerns of patient data security grew more potent, we saw a boost in popularity for blockchain technology. The list of examples goes on and on ad infinitum. 

Unfortunately, there is still a serious IT problem haunting medical professionals and healthcare facilities today. It’s no secret that stress is at an all-time high for both doctors and nurses- and while efforts are being made to fix physician burnout, until those innovations are finalized, we need to tackle the problem one facet at a time. So where does one start?

According to the BBC, the government in England seems to have a pretty good idea.The country is seeing a strong push towards using single sign on solutions to address the issue of repeated logins sucking away time that could otherwise be used to treat patients. And the results speak for themselves! Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool is already seeing upwards of 130 hours of staff time saved a day by cutting unnecessary logins and password resets through single sign on solutions.

So what exactly is the secret to this sauce? What is single sign on and how can you incorporate it into your own facility for similar results?  

What is Single Sign On?

Single sign on (SSO) is a form of identity management that authenticates users with multiple applications with a single login. In most circumstances, without SSO authentication, a website or app will check to see if you’ve already been authenticated. If you haven’t been, it will ask you for your login credentials and double check them against their own internal database. 

With a single sign on solution, however, a separate database is used to reference those credentials and can authenticate a user across multiple apps and sites. A user will attempt to log into a site, in which case they will be redirected to an SSO page to enter their credentials. Once the SSO solution has verified the user’s identity, it passes the authentication data to the website they originally attempted to log into and grants them access to that site. 

From there, if the user tries to access a different website that has been integrated into the SSO solution, the new site will check with the SSO database and, once it sees they’ve already been authenticated, it will grant them access without requiring an additional login. 

It’s important to understand that SSO authentication is NOT password vaulting where you simply have the same username and password across multiple apps. With a single sign on solution, you are authenticated by the SSO database that then grants you access to all company-approved apps and sites without having to re-enter credentials. 

Why Worry About Single Sign On Solutions?

Now that we’ve gotten a core understanding of the solution, a few of the immediate benefits of employing SSO authentication might be popping into your head. 

Time Savings

On average, a clinician can have anywhere between 8-20 different passwords for the various different apps and software they log into daily. Many times, these accounts require multiple logins a day as well. 

A single login takes a few seconds, maybe minutes if a password is forgotten and needs to be reset. Multiply that by the number of programs, the number of times a login is required, and the number of staff members in your facility, and it’s easy to see just how frighteningly these seconds can add up. 

According to a study conducted by Perspectives, CHRISTUS Health was able to save clinicians over 49,000 hours a year by eliminating the need for multiple logins with a single sign on solution. That’s equivalent to 4,088 12-hour shifts previously being spent entering credentials instead of caring for patients.  

Diminish EHR Burnout

We’ve already discussed why doctors hate EHRs in a previous post, but at a glance, one of the reasons why 40% of all physicians claim EHRs do more harm than good is the sheer redundancy of having to log in again and again throughout their day.

An SSO solution may not address the larger issues of EHR interoperability, but it can surely help diminish EHR-related burnout by cutting down logins from several to singular. This not only saves time, but improves morale across the board since care providers can now turn their focus towards actually caring for patients instead of wasting appointment time logging in or resetting a password for the nth time that day.  

Financial Savings

Time saved is money saved. If we were to take the number of hours saved from the Perspective study we mentioned above and multiply that by even the most conservative hourly wage for a medical professional, the amount of money saved would be substantial to say the very least. 

Another angle to consider is the prospective cost of training. Burnout is one of the primary reasons cited for physician retirement. And for every professional that walks out your doors, you’re tasked with the costly process of onboarding and training a new specialist to fill that void.

Implementing Single Sign On Solutions

The first step to getting started with SSO is pretty self-explanatory: reach out to an SSO platform provider like Imprivata. Once you find a provider that supports all of your most used platforms and websites, you can start to shave away even more time and login discrepancies by finding a  medical grade tablet or computer that already has Imprivata certified components integrated into the design.

RFID

Radio Frequency Identification allows your clinicians to log into their programs without a single keystroke or click of the mouse. Simply swiping an RFID badge over a reader logs users in their app or site, after which, the SSO platform will do its magic and log the user into the rest of the programs they plan on using for the entire shift. 

Common Access Card Reader (CAC) Reader

When dealing with secure user authentication, many of the states in the US only require one method of SSO, however, there are a few that do require two methods – commonly referred to as two-factor or multi-factor authentication. 

For those residing in those select states or those simply looking to further enhance their facility’s patient data security, Common Access Card readers are a great choice. A medical panel pc or medical tablet equipped with a CAC reader can grant a user access once they physically insert their card into the device. 

Biometric Readers

For those in need of multi-factor authentication and looking to streamline the login process by eliminating the need for multiple badges and cards, biometric readers might be a better fit. Instead of asking your physicians to carry multiple badges, you can simply customize a medical computer or tablet to quickly scan a user’s fingerprint or face in order to grant access.

Regardless of the methods you choose to employ, having a computer or tablet customized with these pieces of authentication hardware instead of buying external peripherals can save you time, money, and even cut down on unnecessary clutter and weight from your computer on wheels setups. 

Furthermore, adoption of these other methods of authentication bypasses the risk of having passwords stolen or revealed through cyberattacks. RFID badges and biometric identifiers cannot be stolen online. And so, adapting your facility to a single sign on infrastructure not only delivers on all of the benefits we mentioned earlier, it also inadvertently bolsters your cybersecurity.  

Fighting Burnout One Click at a Time

Physician burnout is too large a problem to be solved by one convenient fix. However, if there’s anything we’ve learned from observing hospitals like Alder Hey and others that have used SSO solutions to address that problem, changes can be made today that can at least start to whittle away at burnout while we wait for other changes necessary for a lasting cure. 

For more information on how you can employ Imprivata SSO certified hardware like medical computers and tablets to address your physician burnout concerns, contact an expert from Cybernet today.