Beaufort Memorial Hospital improves electronic adoption and CPOE with single Sign-On and MEDITECH 6.0


Location: Beaufort, South Carolina

Employees: 1,300

Industry: Healthcare

Beds: 197



  • Multiple passwords impeded workflow and patient care
  • Lost / written passwords posed security threat
  • Needed to increase CPOE adoption


  • Simplified login with No Click Access® to applications
  • Increased productivity with single sign-on and virtual desktops
  • Improved HIPAA & HITECH Compliance

Beaufort Memorial Hospital is a 197-bed hospital in Beaufort, South Carolina that specializes in acute care, rehabilitation, and mental health. With approximately 1300 employees and 150 physicians, the hospital’s leadership team made the decision to upgrade its MEDITECH HCIS and deploy single sign-on technology to better accommodate the workflows and usage requirements of its staff. Beaufort has been a MEDITECH MAGIC hospital since 1991 and migrated to MEDITECH’s 6.0 platform in March 2011. The goal behind this initiative was to implement a more advanced, userfriendly system that would encourage hospital staff to work online and pave the way for Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) adoption. “We use MEDITECH’s full clinical suite, and our physicians have been extremely pleased with the enhancements provided to them with 6.0,” says Edward Ricks, VP and CIO of information systems at Beaufort. “Our physicians find the system more visually appealing, as it’s mousedriven rather than menu-driven and has improved workflows. Single Sign-On was the additional piece that has helped us encourage overall electronic engagement.”

The business challenge

Prior to implementing Single Sign-On, employees at Beaufort were forced to remember a minimum of six passwords to access their applications throughout the day. Even with generic network log-ins set up in certain work areas, individual passwords were still necessary to launch the applications. “Passwords have to be complex, and different systems have different password requirements,” says Ricks. “This, coupled with a policy requiring passwords to be changed every 90 days, made things very complicated for our end users.” Many employees felt that the only way they could remember their passwords was to write them down, which causes an obvious security issue. Other employees chose to simply avoid applications that required a password, which created a barrier to technology adoption.

MEDITECH’s CPOE is a prime example of an application avoided by the hospital’s staff, as it remained largely un-used since it was implemented two years ago due to the challenges of remembering multiple passwords. “CPOE usage has been the main challenge since I started with Beaufort,” continues Ricks. “Patient safety is the driving force behind CPOE, and the only way to get physician buy-in is to make it more easily accessible.”

The Imprivata OneSign solution

Selecting a Single Sign-On Solution for the MEDITECH Environment

Forward Advantage’s strong relationship with MEDITECH and its partnership with Imprivata were key criteria in the vendor selection process. “Imprivata OneSign® Single Sign-On is known to work well in the MEDITECH environment, and Forward Advantage has the MEDITECH experience we were looking for,” says Ricks. “We had OneSign implemented eight weeks after going live with 6.0 and within a month after signing the contract with Forward Advantage.”

“Ed and his team had done an effective job of defining the issues that were preventing them from achieving their objectives for CPOE,” says Mike Knebel, vice president of sales for Forward Advantage. “With the issues identified, and the desired outcomes defined, we were able to demonstrate how Forward Advantage has helped many other MEDITECH hospitals, facing similar challenges, achieve successful outcomes by using the industry-leading OneSign technology.”

Making life easier at beaufort with Single Sign-On, badges, and roaming sessions

Imprivata’s OneSign Single Sign-On solution was deployed in three environment types at Beaufort: in standalone office PCs, generic public PCs, and across virtual desktops using VMware View. Staff at Beaufort can now log onto any application that requires a user name and password by using OneSign with their employee badge. An end user simply taps their badge to a workstation which automatically fills in their user name. Upon initial log-in, the end user is also prompted for a network password recognized by OneSign, which allows them to access any MEDITECH and non-MEDITECH applications. The network password starts a grace period for the end user, during which their badge serves as their form of authentication for a predetermined period of time. When an end user’s workflow requires them to move to a new workstation, they tap their badge to log out of the initial workstation. As long as they are within the defined grace period, they can simply tap their badge to the new workstation to resume work.

“Our clinical staff love Single Sign-On, as now they just have one password to remember throughout the day and the rest is taken care of at the OneSign level,” says Ricks. “We still have a password change policy in place, but it’s done behind the scenes with OneSign.”

The employees at Beaufort have been so receptive to the roaming sessions rolled out by Forward Advantage with virtual desktops that the hospital’s goal is to ultimately replace all of their traditional PCs with the necessary thin clients. The log-in process with virtual desktops is the same as with Single Sign-On deployed on a traditional PC; however, roaming sessions allow users to suspend a session on one workstation and pick up exactly where they left off on a subsequent workstation. “Our employees are thrilled with both OneSign and the virtual desktops,” says Ricks. “I recently had a physician tell me that I was finally doing something for him instead of something to him.”

Meeting HIPAA requirements and meaningful use

Since implementing Single Sign-On, the hospital has improved compliance with HIPAA regulations and is better equipped to meet ARRA’s Meaningful Use requirements with regards to electronic ordering. “Single Sign-On has allowed us to increase the percentage of our physicians placing orders electronically,” says Ricks. “With this piece in place, we now feel equipped to attest to Meaningful Use this year.”

“The fact that we created a more secure system while making life easier for our clinicians is what I’m most proud of,” concludes Ricks. “We were expecting a lot of pushback from our employees with Single Sign-On, but they see and appreciate that we’re trying to make the system more useful for them.”