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Single sign-on technology for health care helps medics roam securely

Imprivata Inc. has announced a new single sign-on technology designed for health care organisations, along with two other product announcements at InfoSecurity Europe 2010.

LONDON -- Single sign-on (SSO) technology specialist Imprivata Inc. used the Infosecurity Europe 2010 show to debut a new range of applications designed especially to help health care workers maintain security while working efficiently.

In the fast-moving world of medicine, where a delay can literally make the difference between life and death, security professionals have long struggled to build systems that maintain patient privacy while allowing the medics to do their jobs.

Now Imprivata has combined its SSO technology with facial recognition to provide health care workers with a simple way to authenticate themselves, especially on terminals that may be shared with other users.

The One-Sign Secure Walk-Away product employs a standard webcam to record the face of the user as he or she logs on to the system using some form of authentication, such as a smart card. If the user then moves away from the terminal for any reason, the screen will go blank after a pre-set period. When the user returns to the screen, it recognises his or her face, even if wearing a surgical mask, and resumes that user's session.

If another user wants to use the terminal when the first user is absent, the new user can just as easily authenticate themselves and start a new session simultaneously. The camera then photographs his or her face to allow the new user to stay connected easily.

"With the growth of electronic records, you need to be able to secure unattended workstations and also allow [remote access] roaming so that medical staff can view records," said Christian Merhy, director of product marketing for Imprivata.

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