Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Analytics

12/28/2007
04:45 AM
50%
50%

ID & Access Management Cures Hospital's Password Pains

Lutheran Medical Center's new automated order-entry app sped up its move to single sign-on

Increased efficiency often comes at a price. Just ask Lutheran Medical Center, which had to move to a single sign-on system after installing a new electronic order-entry application that required it, and exacerbated its existing password confusion and access management problems.

The New York City-based health care provider, which sees 600,000 patients each year and has 4,000 employees, last year switched from a paper-based to an electronic order-entry system for better accuracy and timeliness of data entry as well as for improving the productivity of its physicians. "Few hospitals have electronic order-entry systems installed now, but many are moving in that direction because of the potential benefits they offer," says Steve Art, senior vice president and chief information officer for the health care provider.

But the tradeoff was that it opened up more security challenges for the IT staff, which is charged with ensuring that proper security checks are in place for all new applications. The new order-entry system required the use of a single sign-on system, which could address problems stemming from the sharing of central workstations as well as password confusion -- a move the hospital was planning to make but had not yet begun.

Hospitals, unlike other industries, often require users to share a central workstation: "No one walks into my office and starts using the computer, but it is quite common for many nurses, doctors, and administrators to share a central workstation on a hospital floor," Art says.

In the past, these health care users shared a common password to access a central workstation. "They were all caregivers, so if there was a lab test or something showing, they could all look at it," Art says. But the new order-entry system changed things: A doctor could not sign an order if a nurse was using the central workstation, for instance, and tracking doctors' signatures on their orders became tough to follow.

"When our orders were on paper, it was easy for us to follow the rules requiring doctors' signatures," Art says. "As the orders were automated, they were more difficult to track."

The switch to electronic order entry underscored another problem the hospital had struggled with for some time: password confusion. Once a health care administrator accessed a central workstation, he or she then had to enter a password and ID to access each individual application. A health care provider would work with a lab system, pharmacy system, and an order entry system, so many had at least five different passwords and IDs.

Not only did employees access a handful of different applications, but also, the passwords were routinely changed -- typically every 60- to 90 days. Many employees were frustrated with having to remember their multiple passwords, so the IT department had to find a way to consolidate the number of IDs while still keeping the systems secure.

So at the end of last year, Lutheran Medical Center began searching for an access and identity management system to address its access and password management problems. The company talked to a handful of vendors, including ActivIdentity, Encentuate, Imprivata, Passlogix, and IBM. The hospital selected Encentuate because of its shared-workstation features that let users customize their screens on the central workstations, as well as for its low price, Art says.

The Encentuate end-point identity and access management (IAM) suite was installed in the spring, first in the hospital's IT department. After that, a trial followed in a nursing station on one floor. "When we pulled the [trial] system out, the nurses complained, so we knew we were on the right track," said Art.

Now the IAM system is running in four departments, and it works with all of the hospital's applications. There was a problem, however, getting it to run when Encentuate moved the system to a new release, but Art says the problem was fixed quickly. Lutheran Medical Center expects the new system to be in place for all of its users by the end of the second quarter at the latest.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

  • ActivIdentity Inc.
  • Encentuate Inc.
  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)
  • Imprivata Inc.
  • Passlogix Inc.

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
    Dark Reading Staff 4/7/2020
    The Coronavirus & Cybersecurity: 3 Areas of Exploitation
    Robert R. Ackerman Jr., Founder & Managing Director, Allegis Capital,  4/7/2020
    'Unkillable' Android Malware App Continues to Infect Devices Worldwide
    Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  4/8/2020
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon Contest
    Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
    Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
    Current Issue
    6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
    This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
    Flash Poll
    State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
    State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
    Data breaches and regulations have forced organizations to pay closer attention to the security incident response function. However, security leaders may be overestimating their ability to detect and respond to security incidents. Read this report to find out more.
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2020-1633
    PUBLISHED: 2020-04-09
    Due to a new NDP proxy feature for EVPN leaf nodes introduced in Junos OS 17.4, crafted NDPv6 packets could transit a Junos device configured as a Broadband Network Gateway (BNG) and reach the EVPN leaf node, causing a stale MAC address entry. This could cause legitimate traffic to be discarded, le...
    CVE-2020-8834
    PUBLISHED: 2020-04-09
    KVM in the Linux kernel on Power8 processors has a conflicting use of HSTATE_HOST_R1 to store r1 state in kvmppc_hv_entry plus in kvmppc__tm, leading to a stack corruption. Because of this, an attacker with the ability run code in kernel space of a guest VM can cause the host kernel to...
    CVE-2020-11668
    PUBLISHED: 2020-04-09
    In the Linux kernel before 5.6.1, drivers/media/usb/gspca/xirlink_cit.c (aka the Xirlink camera USB driver) mishandles invalid descriptors, aka CID-a246b4d54770.
    CVE-2020-8961
    PUBLISHED: 2020-04-09
    An issue was discovered in Avira Free-Antivirus before 15.0.2004.1825. The Self-Protection feature does not prohibit a write operation from an external process. Thus, code injection can be used to turn off this feature. After that, one can construct an event that will modify a file at a specific loc...
    CVE-2020-7922
    PUBLISHED: 2020-04-09
    X.509 certificates generated by the MongoDB Enterprise Kubernetes Operator may allow an attacker with access to the Kubernetes cluster improper access to MongoDB instances. Customers who do not use X.509 authentication, and those who do not use the Operator to generate their X.509 certificates are u...