Improving clinical efficiency and medical device security with Imprivata Medical Device Access

Key facts

  • Industry: Healthcare
  • Location: Akron, Ohio
  • EHR: Epic
  • Beds: 1,300


  • Preventing unauthorized access to network-connected medical devices

  • Improving security and workflow compliance

  • Increasing clinical efficiency for authentication workflows


  • Time saved for clinicians accessing medical devices

  • Increased security compliance

  • Improved data integrity

Summa Health, located in northeast Ohio, is one of the largest health systems in the state. The health system serves over one million patients annually, across various locations and care settings. Summa Health operates with a patient-centric population health strategy which drives their high standards for innovation and care delivery. Summa Health implemented Imprivata Medical Device Access across their care environments to improve medical device security by streamlining authentication workflows for clinicians accessing devices at the point of care. As a result, they were able to increase clinical efficiency, improve security compliance, and tighten security protocols for their network connected medical devices

The challenge

In 2016, Summa Health underwent a wide-scale initiative to migrate their EHR system in an effort to consolidate vendors across their facilities. Summa chose to leverage this EHR system switch as an opportunity to roll out robust, network-connected patient vital monitors. The monitors were specifically designed to streamline clinical workflows by digitally transmitting patient vitals to their EHR to save clinicians time and bolster data integrity. However, with the patient monitors came the need to enforce stronger authentication when accessing the devices or transmitting data to the EHR.

"In order to ensure that only authorized users had access to these complex devices, we chose to enforce authentication via username and password each time a clinician accessed the device to capture vitals for a new patient," explained James Massie, Senior Application Programmer for Summa Health.

Summa also required 15-20 minute automatic time-outs to ensure that monitors left unattended would not pose a threat to PHI privacy. Unfortunately, as in any clinical environment, additional security measures quickly lead to user frustration.

Often times, manual entry of username and password on the touch screen of a medical device can be cumbersome and error prone. Requiring users to manually enter their credentials multiple times a day leads to frustrated clinicians and lost time that could have been spent focusing on the patient. Being well aware of the dangerous consequences that password fatigue and frustration can lead to, including password sharing and batch entry which leads a clinician to manually record vitals and enter them into the electronic health record at a later time, Summa sought a solution to streamline authentication for these devices.

Balancing security and convenience for optimal clinical efficiency

Summa Health chose to leverage Imprivata Medical Device Access, which offers a direct integration with point-of-care medical devices to streamline clinician authentication by replacing the manual entry of username and password with the simple tap of a proximity badge. The solution, which has been deployed across 48 departments, allows over 1,400 users to quickly and securely access these medical devices during their shifts.

Today, the solution is used by a wide variety of roles including nursing, unit directors, biomedical engineers, and physical and occupational therapists, among others.

"By implementing Imprivata Medical Device Access, we were able to put critical security protocols in place without taking away from clinical efficiency," explained Massie, Senior Applications Programmer responsible for the Imprivata Implementation. "Now that we've implemented this solution throughout our sites, we couldn't pry it out of the nurses hands even if we tried."

The results

With Imprivata Medical Device Access implemented throughout their care environments, Summa health is now able to:

  • Ensure better compliance with security measures by streamlining authentication workflows
  • Obtain full visibility into user interactions with these devices through the use of Imprivata audit logs and comprehensive reporting capabilities
  • Improve data integrity by removing the need for manual charting of patient vitals

"Documentation is a large part of the job in healthcare and anything that can be done to make that more efficient gives time back for us to spend with our patients," explained Evan Deighan RN, MSN, CMSRN of Summa Health. "The quick tap sign on saves even more time! The staff tap in and are instantly ready to go. The integration of this technology has allowed for more accurate reporting of vital signs and patient data. It has decreased the delay in vital sign documentation and has returned time back to all of the staff."

From a security stand point, Imprivata Medical Device Access has enabled Summa Health to enforce tighter security controls on their devices, including strong authentication and device lock-screens with shorter auto-lock time outs to ensure PHI privacy and to prevent unauthorized use.

From a clinical perspective, the efficiency benefits were centered on increased efficiency and satisfaction for providers. By removing the manual entry of username and password, something which often takes 25-30 seconds, and replacing it with a 1-2 second badge tap, Summa was able to save clinicians time and frustration.

"The staff have been thrilled with the tap badge feature on the Capsule VitalsPlus devices," remarked Tiffany Kurtz RN, BSN, OCN and Clinical Coordinator of Infusion Services at Summa Health. "In the outpatient setting, every extra second counts, and this feature saves the staff valuable time."