Are you ever frustrated by how often you log in to different apps or accounts? Constantly typing passwords and signing in can add precious minutes to an otherwise full work day. That’s one reason why many hospitals and healthcare organizations are implementing single sign-on.
What is single sign-on (SSO)?
Single sign-on, or “SSO,” is an authentication process that allows users to securely access multiple applications or software systems using just one set of credentials.
Google is a common everyday example. If you have a Google account, once you log in to a Google site with your username and password, you can open Gmail, Google Drive, and YouTube without re-typing your information.
You can also use your Google username and password to sign in to other apps or websites. For example, when you log in to Medscape, you’ll see the option to continue with Google, Facebook, or Apple. Like Medscape, many websites or software companies let you use existing credentials to log in to their service.
SSO works because many service providers – apps, websites, and software companies – trust other companies like Google to manage the user authentication process. Google doesn’t send your password or personal information to Medscape. Instead, once you sign in on Google, it confirms they successfully established your identity, and you can proceed to use the service or website without creating new account information.
An example of single sign-on in healthcare
Why is single sign-on relevant for healthcare providers?
You probably use a few different software tools during a hospital shift or workday at the clinic. You log in to your work computer and EMR. Maybe you also use telemedicine software or a medical dictation service. And you might use different apps or software services to coordinate with your team, manage clinical scheduling, message patients, or review recent medical research.
Without SSO, each software requires a username and unique password, which means more time remembering and typing login information.
That’s one reason why many medical software companies enable single sign-on.
An example is Mobius Conveyor, a medical dictation service that allows providers to use their smartphone as a microphone for instant dictation into any software on any computer.
Mobius supports SSO for enterprise accounts, so providers can use their institutional username and password to sign into Conveyor. If you work at a hospital that offers the Conveyor dictation app for employees, that’s one less password to remember.
Benefits of SSO for providers
According to one estimate, the average person has 100 passwords across various sites and services. For busy doctors, remembering and typing new login credentials is a lot of unnecessary hassle. Single sign-on saves providers time while keeping everyone’s information more secure.
There are three main benefits of SSO for providers:
1. Increased productivity
As a doctor or clinician, you need quick access to many apps throughout your workday. We all know the frustration of forgetting or having to reset a password when we’re busy with something else.
Healthcare providers lose substantial time logging in and remembering passwords. SSO increases productivity by skipping those steps with a single password to access everything.
2. Improved security
You might think a single master password used to access multiple services poses a security risk, but the opposite is typically true. Users with just one password for many applications are more likely to create a complex, hard-to-guess password, reducing the risk of data theft. Also, your organization can more easily enforce password complexity and expiration policies since your IT department has direct control over SSO providers in an enterprise setting.
Most healthcare institutions also use multi-factor authentication (MFA), which pairs password access with another identity confirmation such as a one-time passcode sent to your phone. As a result, using SSO with your institutional credentials is a great way to improve security.
3. Higher job satisfaction
Providers are frustrated by paperwork and documentation. They entered medicine to treat patients, yet EMRs and other administrative tasks are becoming a more significant part of their workday.
SSO increases productivity and removes a minor hassle that amplifies the feeling of being overwhelmed by bureaucratic tasks. The result is less burnout and higher job satisfaction for healthcare providers.
Single sign-on improves a provider’s workday. But it also benefits institutions in other ways. SSO can decrease IT costs, enhance customer experience, increase technology adoption rates, and improve regulatory compliance.
If you work at a hospital, ask your IT department how they’ve implemented SSO and make sure you’re using it. If you own or work at a private practice, consider researching SSO options for small businesses.