Why phones beat fobs when it comes to protecting sensitive patient data

From time to time, it's helpful to look at what other health systems around the world are doing with technology, as a way of studying the kinds of services that cloud technologies make possible. Here's an inspiring health story from the U.S.

When Presence Health wanted to give its clinical staff access to patient records across all of its facilities, it needed to certain those records would be secure. So it turned to the cloud.

Presence is the largest healthcare organisation in Illinois, with more than 150 locations, including 12 hospitals and 27 long-term care facilities. It needed a single system that everyone could use. The system also needed to be flexible enough to be configurable to work even in remote areas with poor phone service. And Presence didn’t want to spend a bundle on new hardware. For years, the company had relied on an old-fashion fob-based security system. But recently they opted to use a phone-based access management system using Windows Azure. Here’s why:

  • It was less expensive. Relying on the cloud meant that Presence didn’t have to buy any new costly hardware.
  • It’s phone-based. Employees are already used to carrying around smartphones and they tend to keep a close eye on their devices, so it’s a natural fit for a security system. It’s also a familiar piece of equipment, so little training is needed.
  • It’s easy to use. Under the old system, employees had to use small physical fobs to log in. The fobs were easy to misplace and difficult to use, requiring too many steps to log in.

The new Windows Azure Multi-Facto Authentication system is simple and fast. Getting patient records at the point of care was finally easy, fast and secure.

“Given the critical nature of healthcare, it is essential that we provide constantly available access for users, and we can do that with Windows Azure Multi-Factor Authentication. This is a highly available, reliable solution that gives us the confidence we need,” says Mike Baran, System Director, Technology, Presence Health.

Learn more about the Presence Health story.