We recently held a VDI virtual lunch and learn with Chris Peredun and Martin Poirier, two of the lead desktop virtualization administrators at Group Health Centre, a multi-specialty, ambulatory care health organization in Ontario, Canada. You can read Group Health Centre's VDI success story here or watch their full webinar recording here! One of the things that that really stood out from this discussion was how Single Sign On, aka SSO, improves the speed and efficiency of exam room workflows!
With SSO, care providers login once to access their desktops and applications, rather than wasting time having to enter usernames and passwords over and over.
According to Chris and Martin the 3 main benefits of using Single Sign On in VDI are:
- 1. Improved speed of exam-room workflow
- 2. Convenient method to secure desktops and protected health information (PHI)
- 3. Industry standard for integration with Epic EMR
Here are some of Chris's thoughts on how much more efficient care providers' workflow is with SSO in VDI:
"Our identification badges are actually HID smart cards, so they are tied to our user profiles and user credentials. The users come in, and provide a passcode to give the card activity for a set period of time. At that point, they are able to roam using that smart card between stations, and use it as credentials."
"When a nurse walks into the exam-room, the desktop can be accessed and secured by the nurse presenting their HID card to a proximity reader in the room. The reader will recognize the individual and unlock their screen, and present them with their customized view within Epic Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system." (Note: Epic EMR delivery for their VDI deployment is done with Unidesk layering technology!)
"The nurse can then use that same card to secure the station so there's no personal health information visible, and the desktop is locked. When a doctor comes in later, they don't have to type in a username and password, but can use the proximity card reader to gain access just like the nurse does; it will recognize the doctor and show the patient's Epic health record in their context."
Martin explains more of the benefits of SSO:
"This makes our exam-room workflow a lot faster. Rather than having to worry about typing in your username/password hundreds of times a day, using SSO saves you time. It's about 15 seconds to log in the traditional way, and if you're doing that 50 to 100 times a day, it adds up very quickly."
"So the quickness and efficiency of SSO contributes to overall user satisfaction here. With one 'tap' of the card, the user is logged in and can view all of the patient info. There is no delay in logging in. It is very convenient to secure the desktop: if anyone walks away from their station, they just 'tap' and don't have to worry about any key strokes."
Group Health's SSO solution is Imprivata One Sign. Imprivata and Unidesk are used together in many healthcare VDI deployments, which is why we've become technology alliance partners! We are a proven combination, whether you're implementing VDI with Citrix XenDesktop, Microsoft RDS or VMware Horizon View on VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V. As you have heard from Martin and Chris, Imprivata streamlines and secures front-end access to VDI, whereas Unidesk simplifies back-end desktop provisioning, application delivery, image management and personalization.
What is your experience with SSO? Is there another way you are handling authentication and access for your virtual desktop deployment? Let us know what it is!