Single Sign-On and Strong Authentication in Hospitals

We’ve often talked about the hundreds of systems that a hospital organization must support. Yes, we often forget about 99 of them because we’re so focused on the enormous EHR software. However, the end users of those systems don’t forget about those other systems. This is particularly true when an organization hasn’t implemented a well done single sign-on solution with strong authentication. Considering the multiple login complaints I still hear from so many people, I think that includes a lot of you.

The authentication and single sign-on experts at Imprivata have put together this pretty comprehensive whitepaper on Single Sign-On and Strong Authentication. As is usually the case, there’s so much more to it than most people think about on face.

Take for example just the list of leading authentication methods:

  • Passwords
  • Strong Passwords
  • ID Tokens
  • Smart Cards
  • Passive Proximity Cards
  • Active Proximity Cards
  • Biometrics

Of course, with all of this I’m still waiting for the day when we have a biometrically controlled experience at a hospital. We’re getting there. Hopefully before that organizations will have figured out all the single sign-on issues we’re still dealing with today.

The best reason to invest in a single sign-on solution is security. Sure, there are some arguments that a single sign on option is less secure because one login can get you into everything. This is mitigated to some degree with two factor authentication. However, even if it is the case, it’s still more secure than a nurse having 20 logins which leads to them writing their usernames and passwords on a sticky note next to their computer. Single sign-on almost completely solves this security problem.

How is your organization approaching single sign-on?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.