How innovation has helped healthcare organisations during the pandemic


Andy Wilcox, Head of International Product Marketing at Imprivata, discusses how Digital Identity Management is at the heart of the innovation that has helped NHS Trusts meet recent challenges. From facilitating remote working to provide care and enabling virtual patient visits, to efficiently managing staff onboarding, digital identity management has underpinned the solutions that have delivered success under intense pressure.

Over the last twelve months the healthcare sector has been working flat out. From building and staffing temporary hospitals, to onboarding extra staff to manage rising cases, not to mention moving to remote working where possible. The sector, like many other industries, has seen an acceleration in the adoption of digital working not previously experienced.

At Imprivata we have been working closely with NHS organisations throughout this time to help them tackle some of the challenges that this move has presented. Innovation, and in particular digital identity, is at the heart of the solutions. However, it is not just the technology itself, but how it has been applied in the healthcare setting to ensure continuity of care, mitigate risk and manage response that has delivered success.

Supporting clinicians to provide patient care while reducing risk

An example of this is how we have worked with Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust Hospital. The hospital needed to address the challenges of isolation and infection control with ward rounds and patient visits. Clinicians had to conduct ward rounds and discuss appropriate care with colleagues in an easy and secure way, while reducing exposure to the clinical teams and minimising the use of PPE. The hospital also wanted to facilitate virtual visits for patients, so important for wellbeing during difficult circumstances.

Working with Royal Surrey and Ascom we delivered a secure, mobile solution comprising Ascom’s Myco3 device with Imprivata’s mobile secure sign-on. Imprivata’s solution gave clinicians badge-tap access to the mobile device and the AttendAnywhere application to conduct ward rounds. This enabled one clinician to attend the isolation ward in person, while in communication with the rest of the team in the safe area providing additional specialist advice. Patients could also use the same technology to speak to friends and relatives.

The solution has been so successful that the Trust is now looking into how it might support other workflows.

Helping manage staff changes securely and efficiently

An Imprivata solution has also helped Bolton NHS Trust to manage staff changes – joiners, movers and leavers – which had greatly increased due to the pandemic. Again, Digital Identity Management played a critical part in the solution.

Working with Imprivata has enabled the Trust to change their manual processes to being as automated as possible. By integrating Imprivata’s Identity Governance solution with the electronic staff records (ESR), the Trust has one source of the truth to connect all staff accounts and provide secure access to key systems. Even more impressive was that the Imprivata and Bolton NHS team carried out phase one of the implementation in just four months – at the height of the pandemic.

The benefits to the hospital are huge, enabling rapid on-boarding of staff that is critical at this time. The first test of the student intake of over 90 staff, which normally takes a week to complete, took just seconds to process. The created accounts were reliable, accurate and ready to go, with no mistakes or incorrect permissions. Plus, security was built in.

Automating the process means that temporary users can be added easily, even out of hours, removing the need for generic – and potentially less secure – accounts. Improved user information also gives insights on permissions and accumulated accounts, to help manage licence requirements more accurately.

Digital identity management provides flexibility and security

There is no doubt that the last twelve months have presented unforeseen new challenges across the board. The health sector has demonstrated that it not only excels at patient care, it is also open to embracing and pioneering new technology to support its operations.

At the root of the challenges that both Royal Surrey and Bolton NHS Trust faced was the need to manage identity securely and efficiently to facilitate workflows. Whether this be supporting the clinician rounds or managing the staff recruitment process.

Recognising this, we launched our Digital Identity Framework to help organisations identify how identity governance can address many of the challenges that they face. The Framework identifies four key pillars that provide a unified approach to managing digital identity: Governance & Administration; Identity Management Authorisation; Authentication and Access.

It is designed to help organisations identify how processes flow and systems interact, providing organisation-wide visibility while focusing on the needs of frontline clinicians and the overall end user experience. A digital identity solution is an enabler and its ease of use can also help encourage user adoption of new systems.

There is no doubt that the pandemic has highlighted the need to be able to react quickly with maximum flexibility to cope with surges in demand and provide alternative ways of working. Imprivata’s Digital Identity Framework for Healthcare brings structure to help manage this increasing complexity.

To find out more, there are case studies, whitepapers and additional resources available, visit:

Andy Wilcox is Head of International Product Marketing at Imprivata


























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