North London PCTs benefit from security system that taps into existing IT resources

A shared information and IT department supporting four North London NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) has rolled out a UK-developed system for secure remote working.

A shared information and IT department supporting four North London NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) has rolled out a UK-developed system for secure remote working.

The Health Access System (HAS) is a web-based system from Bracknell-based security firm Winfrasoft.

HAS is built on the Microsoft Forefront Edge Gateway server platform, widely used in the NHS, and uses the government's Connected for Health (CfH) smartcards.

The smartcards were developed to control access to the Care Records Service (CRS), but Winfrasoft has extended their use to allow PCTs access local resources.

The Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Health Informatics Service (BEHHIS) chose the HAS because it uses existing platform and smartcard resources.

This enabled the BEHHIS to improve remote access with a high level of security within tight financial constraints.

"Implementing such comprehensive and strong two-factor authentication from scratch would simply not be feasible for our PCTs, as it is expensive to implement and resource intensive to maintain," said Perry Meyer, senior project manager at NHS Enfield.

HAS unifies the identity of the health worker with the NHS smartcard to a locally-managed Active Directory user account. This enables an existing and un-modified smartcard to be used for two-factor authenticated remote access as well as single sign on to the IT network, he said.

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