How one simple solution can reduce the HIPAA headache

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Compliance is an ever present, ever changing issue facing a number of industries across the nation. Failing to adhere to the complex issues can warrant severe fines and penalties costing businesses tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

One of the largest regulating acts in an industry is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, more commonly known as HIPAA, which can send chills down the spine of the most tenured hospital office managers. Simply mentioning HIPPA will have them racking their brain to make sure all the forms are filled out correctly, checking to see if employees are following proper protocol, or using the proper steps to assure data and information are secure.

One solution, Single Sign-On can actually assist in a number of ways including the ability to assist with meeting strict HIPAA requirements such as workstation security, access controls and person or entity authentication. There are several ways in which a single sign-on solution helps healthcare entities easily meet these HIPAA requirements and ensure that passwords aren’t easily stolen, track employee access at various access points at the workstations, and most importantly to protect confidential patient and hospital data without disrupting the hospitals process.

One of the more common practices and easiest way to accomplish these daunting tasks is to eliminate any and all shared accounts among the staff. With a single sign-on solution, employees will be required to remember only a single set of credentials which are unique to each employee. This will eliminate the need to remember several new sets of credentials for each system application while being able to document which employee accessed what material.

This solution can be integrated with password resets as well. This allows for password changes to be made periodically for applications that require it for added security. When that happens, the single sign-on software itself can generate and store the new password without an employee having to do anything.

Strong authentication is a second easy way to ensure that HIPAA is adhered to as it ensures the data from your company and patients are protected. Single sign-on allows the organization to implement a two factor authentication by requiring a user to enter both a PIN code and a smart card in order to access the system. To take it a step further, the system can be enhanced to automatically logoff a user as soon as their smart card is removed.

Lastly, the single sign-on software can assist with properly delegating or revoking access when employee temporarily takes over another employees duties for whatever reason; sick, vacation, leave, etc. Rather than do this in a non-secure fashion by one employee physically giving another employee access information, the single sign-on solution can grant an employee temporary user access for a set period of time without being given the users credentials. As soon as the time period ends, the rights are automatically revoked. This is even more prevalent when it comes to termination or revocation of access upon departure from the hospital. The software can integrate with account provisioning to easily disable employees with one click to ensure no ex-employee has access to the organizations systems and applications.

With a single sign-on solution there’s no need to fear the burden of meeting HIPAA requirements and hospital office managers can rest a little easier knowing that their information and data are secure. They know that when an employee is terminated, their access is gone with them and when a user leaves one station they know that there is no information left displayed to be shared with unauthorized wandering eyes.

Read more about SSO in Healthcare.

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