The NHS National Library for Health (NLH) is deploying an identity management system to enable 257,000 NHS staff to securely access its resources.
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It has signed a five-year deal with Eduserv, the not-for-profit IT services group, to supply the single sign-on Athens system.
With the system, NHS staff and placement students in England will be able to access full-text journals, key clinical databases and e-books on the NLH portal, as well as benefit from free publishing in open-access journals.
These resources are critical in helping doctors, nurses, students, health managers and other members of the NHS to keep informed, said the NLH.
The NLH portal uses Athens to identify users' organisational affiliations, enabling searches across all of the resources that they are entitled to access.
Athens also allows the portal to save the searches and settings of individual users, so every time a user logs on to the portal with their Athens username and password, the portal customises itself according to their preferences.
This helps NHS staff to find the information they need as quickly as possible.
Ian McKinnell, technical manager at the National Library for Health, said, "To enable the better use of evidence and enable improvements in safer health care, it is vital that NHS managers and clinicians have ready and reliable access to knowledge. Establishing a knowledge sign-on is a vital foundation to this objective."