HIPAA relaxation boosts telehealth services, Imprivata digital identity secures clinician services

healthcare patient identity governance biometric authentication

Since COVID-19 confirmed how unpredictable the world is, the healthcare industry has been more interested than ever in implementing advanced technology that can upgrade patient care. Artificial intelligence, analytics, and biometrics to improve electronic health records (EHR) are the main focus areas, writes Fisher Phillips Associate Alexa Hanlon for JD Supra, however there are a number of legal and moral challenges when privacy is concerned. This makes continued education and training of employees absolutely critical to make sure statutory obligations such as HIPAA are respected.

Telehealth services are now more common, given the pandemic situation, so it was an obvious step for policy makers to reform the system and reanalyze regulatory obstacles in order to provide greater access to remote patient care. The U.S. Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has relaxed some restrictions including for non-HIPAA compliant virtual communications technology.

“We are empowering medical providers to serve patients wherever they are during this national public health emergency. . .We are especially concerned about reaching the most at risk, including older persons and persons with disabilities,” OCR Director Roger Severino announced in March.

However, there is still a lack of clear guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), leaving many healthcare providers in the dark about the future. One thing is certain: patient privacy is critical and biometrics companies and digital identity providers could come to the rescue.

Imprivata releases Digital Identity Framework for Healthcare

Imprivata has released the Digital Identity Framework for Healthcare, a secure identity access management system for CISOs, CIOs, and other IT leaders in healthcare delivery organizations, the company announced.

“Imprivata’s Digital Identity Framework for Healthcare is a giant step forward from where most HDOs are,” said Art Ream, chief information security officer at Cambridge Health Alliance, in a prepared statement. “A unified system like this one will avoid the security and efficiency gaps of single-point, non-cohesive approaches and is especially important as we plan for post-pandemic operations and fortify our identity and access management strategy based on increased remote care and rapid responsiveness to staffing shifts.”

The framework is built on governance and administration, identity management, authorization, and authentication and access. It specifically addresses unique healthcare requirements, based on customer feedback and industry-leading schemes including H-ISAC, Microsoft, Gartner, KuppingerCole, and Forrester.

“Now, more than ever, our customers are challenged with navigating complex healthcare environments that demand a secure and efficient approach to IAM,” said Impravata President and CEO Gus Malezis in the announcement. “Our new framework shows our customers where existing IAM tools fit into a broader, more holistic approach focused on digital identities which are tantamount to efficient clinical workflows as well as rapid response to support remote workers, virtual care – and whatever unknowns the future may hold.”

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust finalizes IDG proof of concept

Imprivata’s longtime customer Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, one of the busiest in Greater Manchester, has successfully finalized a test pilot of Imprivata Identity Governance (IDG), which streamlines onboarding and user account deprovisioning, provides role-based access to sensitive patient data, and ensures GDPR compliance.

According to Phillipa Winter, chief informatics officer at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, she first heard about the system at a conference in the U.S. and instantly thought it was worth a try.

“Over the last few weeks, we have run a successful Proof of Concept project enabling us to automatically grant users access to the many applications and systems associated with their job roles which they need to work with patients,” Winter said in a prepared statement. “Imprivata IDG means clinicians can deliver high-quality care with immediate access to the right systems and patient information, tight security and detailed audit trails. The barriers which have traditionally made it difficult and slow for users to gain timely access to systems have been removed enabling care providers to be more productive, confident that they are complying with data regulations.”

Imprivata Identity Governance is part of the fully integrated Imprivata platform for Identity and Access Management which includes Imprivata OneSign Single Sign On, Imprivata Confirm ID for Clinical Workflows, and Imprivata OneSign Spine Combined Workflow.

Imprivata upgraded OneSign’s Web SSO with more secure fingerprint biometrics last November.

“Managing access to sensitive patient information is critical for healthcare organizations. Unwieldy security and slow to provision IT systems lead to frustration for frontline staff,” said in a prepared statement Wes Wright, Imprivata CTO. “When Imprivata Identity Governance is combined with Imprivata OneSign single sign on, users have immediate access to all the data they need to do their job with the simple tap of a badge or token. Streamlined login times save up to an hour per shift, giving back significant time to care, which has proven extremely popular with clinicians and aids user adoption.”

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