Tower Hamlets has become the latest primary care trust to use Imprivata OneSign. The single sign-on solution is being rolled out to provide 600 of the trust’s staff with secure access to applications including clinical systems and NHSmail.
OneSign is more conventionally used in acute trusts, but it is already being used by other PCTs including NHS Tameside and Glossop.
Greg Peacock, IT manager at Tower Hamlets, told E-Health Insider: “As part of the North East London Care Community, [we wanted to] facilitate users moving between the boundaries of Newham and Tower Hamlets. To do this we created a shared domain.
“The idea didn’t work as well as we had hoped, as the management overheads were impractical, so we stopped the pilot late in 2007. We decided to implement OneSign at Tower Hamlets from that stage.”
The PCT chose OneSign to keep IT systems safe, but also to overcome day-to-day issues, such as forgotten passwords and user lockouts which result in expensive IT help desk costs.
Peacock continued: “The main use is for GP staff. GPs used to have an isolated network, but PCTs now have responsibility for IT services in general practices. OneSign incorporates all the smaller networks as part of the corporate domain so it doesn’t restrict what they can do.”
OneSign will also manage strong- authentication by integrating the NHS smartcard with single sign-on to allow users to access NHS Spine applications through login details stored on their cards rather than using individual logins for every system.
“At the moment, we have rolled it out in six practices but will continue through all 32 practices throughout 2009,” Peacock said.
“We are several weeks behind schedule, as we had problems with the original servers that were deployed, but now we are rolling out one at a time and the process is getting quicker and quicker.”
OneSign will also improve Tower Hamlet’s security compliance requirements through its user access auditing capabilities. The capabilities allow IT staff to track all attempted and authenticated entries to IT systems.
Omar Hussain, president and chief executive officer said: “Security and cost are two key concerns for every public sector organisation today, especially in the light of recent high profile data breaches. Tower Hamlets is one of the many NHS organisations in the UK leading by example with the implementation of OneSign.”