When you think of the impact of technological innovation on different sectors, healthcare might come to mind — perhaps for its advancements in treatments or new tools for diagnostics. But productive and innovative collaborations are also starting to take place in the cloud as the industry continues to digitize. This has created opportunities to build better foundations for patient care, but it has also created a complex ecosystem of compliance considerations, security risks, and costs.
Healthcare has traditionally lagged behind other industries when it comes to leveraging the cloud. Many healthcare systems are impeded by legacy systems, fragmented IT, and cumbersome applications. Companies may have modernized with electronic medical records, but still don’t have the processes in place to ensure these records are secure and that data collection is compliant. When partner companies share apps and sensitive patient data across organizations and directories, this only further serves to complicate systems and put companies — and their patients — at risk of a data breach.
This is where identity and access management comes in. With the right partner, healthcare companies are redefining the industry: setting new standards for on-demand patient care, bringing much needed services to all corners of the world, and connecting partner organizations to better serve those in need — all while complying with HIPAA regulations and protecting important patient data. These are three of the companies that are leading the way.
Envision Healthcare: Connecting a Secure Network of Services
Envision Healthcare is provider of physician-led, outsourced medical services and coordinated clinically-based care solutions, including medical transportation, hospital encounters, and other population health services. Since 2014, Envision Healthcare has expanded its mandate enormously with more than 20 mergers and acquisitions.
Of course, this entailed a fair share of complications, what CIO Mark Hagan called “application sprawl”. Each new company that joined Envision Healthcare was saddled with its own IT history and infrastructure, which had to be incorporated into Envision's IT or overridden by it. New employees created their own user IDs and passwords, and Envision’s IT team had no visibility into who had access to what information, and whether or not they were authorized to access it. Domain consolidation projects can take months, and when patient needs are at stake, this simply isn’t acceptable. At times, it took weeks before new Envision employees could access vital apps and programs.
Okta's solutions changed this process dramatically. Not only did they streamline (and regulate) the onboarding of new acquisitions, but they also provided hospitals with the data necessary to oversee their own users through Universal Directory. This enabled newly acquired companies and employees to integrate with Envision Healthcare almost immediately — and securely — saving valuable time and effort better spent on patient care.
Heal: Creating On-Demand Healthcare and Mobile Clinics
Heal is an on-demand healthcare provider based in Los Angeles that provides care to patients right in their homes. Through its “On Call” app, patients can schedule appointments from any device and see a primary care physician within two hours. The Heal team launched the HIPAA-compliant app using Stormpath APIs to build authorization, and adopted best-of-breed tools to manage patient records and keep track of supplies.
When building the app, there were certain differentiators that required Heal’s own technology stack, which the IT team built from the ground up. But for others, such as messaging and conference calls between doctors and patients, they turned to open-source solutions. They also needed identity management to protect important patient data, but their team simply wasn’t best suited to build and maintain this app functionionality.
Stormpath’s APIs provided this foundation instead, and when Okta and Stormpath joined forces in 2017, On Call transitioned over as well. “We were able to recreate every single role that we had in the Stormpath realm, inside the Okta realm,” says Heal CTO Rish Tandon. “It was one of the most seamless vendor transitions I have ever seen.”
Today, Okta provides the identity layer for On Call so that customers and employees alike can securely log in to access their information. It’s completely customized, so that On Call is a consistent, Heal-branded experience from login to sign-off, while Okta quietly works behind the scenes.
Gavi: Enabling a Global Cause
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance has a team spread all over the globe. The goal of this public-private partnership is to create equal access to vaccines for all children and fund immunization programs throughout the developing world. And while it only has around 300 permanent staff members, it depends on thousands of affiliates and volunteers worldwide.
The organization’s IT infrastructure was originally a traditional on-prem system. David Nix, Chief Knowledge Officer of Gavi, decided that his team needed a more agile and powerful platform, and that he needed to move his operations to the cloud. As such, he selected Okta as his go-to solution. Through the Okta for Good program, which sponsors nonprofit organizations, Gavi was able to access top-of-the-line tech at a preferential rate. Within six weeks, Nix integrated 14 applications with Okta to simplify his colleagues' access to crucial information, and less than two weeks after the Okta launch, 90% of Nix's team were using the solution.
No matter which component of the healthcare system it requires, patient care is time-sensitive and a team effort. Security is the number one priority for healthcare IT, and Okta’s identity management solutions and HIPAA Compliant cell give companies the security and flexibility they need to focus on providing services that save lives.