SSO and Workforce Mobility is a Powerful Combination

The UK government has finally realised the urgency of cutting down one of the most deceptively harmless procedures in the NHS — system logins. An individual login might not seem to matter much. But if your NHS staff are having to log in to multiple different systems, it can cause a substantial delay in patient care delivery. It’s worse when logins don’t work the first time. As we all know, sometimes the underlying infrastructure can act up and cause each login to take forever. Sometimes, users can enter the wrong password, get locked out of their accounts, call Help Desk, and have to wait until they’re given a password reset. If patient care is delayed during normal days when medical staff have to log-in on multiple occasions, imagine how much worse this gets when something goes wrong?

To address this problem, the UK government is allocating £40 million for building the infrastructure to enable Single Sign-On (SSO) capabilities to all NHS staff. At Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, where logins would run up to 5,000 per day, SSO has already reduced staff multi-system login time from 1 minute 45 seconds to just 10 seconds, saving 130 hours of login time.

Advantages of SSO

  • Aside from reducing login times, SSO has several other benefits:
  • Reduces password fatigue - users need to remember just one password each to access all systems.
  • Encourages user receptiveness to security practices - One of the major reasons (if not THE number one reason) why users hate security is that it usually complicates their day-to-day tasks. As SSO makes daily routines much easier and faster, users can be more receptive to adopting additional security practices like using strong passwords.
  • Relieves IT from identity management - IT admins no longer need to worry about identity management. This responsibility will now lie in the hands of the Identify Provider or (IdP), which is a third party like Microsoft Azure AD, Ping, or Okta.
  • Reduces Help Desk workloads - As users no longer need to recall or maintain multiple passwords, password reset incidents will drop. This frees Help Desk staff from the time-consuming task of resetting passwords.
  • Paves the way for stronger security - Resources (time, money, and talent) saved with the arrival of SSO can be reallocated to pursuing new security initiatives like two-factor authentication (2FA) and multifactor authentication (MFA).
  • Streamlines patient care delivery – In life-threatening situations, prompt delivery of the right care can spell the difference between life and death. SSO can help ensure prompt patient care delivery because it gives doctors and nurses quick access to vital information held in different applications.

Making it mobile with Parallels RAS

Parallels RAS is an application delivery and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution. You typically host it in a central location like a datacentre or cloud infrastructure and it securely delivers virtualised applications and desktops to any remote user device such as PCs, laptops, thin clients, tablets, and smartphones running Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, or Chrome OS. It also supports any HTML5 web browser. This means that if you’re a doctor, nurse or other healthcare staff, Parallels RAS would enable you to access all the healthcare software tools and applications you need from anywhere within – or away from – the hospital, on any device you prefer to use.

Parallels RAS provides a high-performance, intuitive, and productive user experience that makes applications look and respond as if they were installed locally on the users’ devices. Clinicians who need to work on the move can take advantage of native touch gestures like swipe, drag, tap-to-click, and zoom-in when using Windows applications on their mobile devices. Applications are naturally adapted to fit the entire screen, so clinicians won’t have to struggle when navigating and interfacing with various healthcare software.

SSO and Workforce Mobility

But that’s not all. Parallels RAS also supports SAML-based SSO. By combining SSO and, say, Touch ID, Parallels RAS can enable doctors and nurses to seamlessly switch from one device to another and pick up sessions where they left off. In addition, it also enables them to switch effortlessly from one application and task to another from one user device.

Through SSO, healthcare staff can experience faster logins that no longer require manual entry of login credentials regardless of whether they’re accessing a SaaS application, a traditional application, or desktop.

With recent versions of Parallels RAS, logins are made even much faster through artificial intelligence (AI). Parallels RAS’ AI-based session pre-launch technology analyses end-user logins and prepares resources accordingly. For example, if a doctor begins seeing patients at 9 am each day, the virtual app and desktop sessions that the doctor uses regularly will launch at 8:55 am so that he/she won’t have to wait for them to get up and running the next time around.

The quicker a clinician can access needed information, the more productive and efficient he/she will be gaining more time to provide better, more personalised patient care. Parallels RAS with SSO is the productivity and efficiency booster every healthcare organisation needs.

Event Diary

Following the 2017 Naylor Report into NHS estates, it has been estimated that estate upkeep costs have reached approximately £10bn in annual funding for 2019/2020.

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