University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust improves clinician workflows while increasing productivity and security


  • Healthcare


  • Overhauling a number of legacy ICT systems as part of a Clinical Systems Strategy
  • Lost productivity from continual log-ins/offs to 150+ different applications
  • Needed to secure access to patient data


  • Imprivata OneSign 


  • Saved clinicians time and improved workflows by simplifying user access for 5,200 staff
  • Provided a platform on which the Clinical Systems Strategy can be built upon
  • Improved visibility and control through auditing capabilities
  • Ensured that security policies are being met at all times

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol) is one of the largest teaching hospitals in the United Kingdom, employing 7,900 staff in over 100 different clinical services across nine sites. UH Bristol delivers general medical and emergency services to the local population, and a broad range of specialist services across a region that extends from Cornwall to Gloucestershire, into South Wales and beyond.

As a speciality teaching Trust, UH Bristol works in strong and dynamic partnership with the University of Bristol, the University of the West of England and several other higher education institutions in this country and abroad.

Much of the research at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust has changed the clinical care of patients worldwide, particularly in cancer, cardiac surgery and child health and has informed National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and other national guidelines.

The business challenge

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol) is currently in the process of overhauling a number of legacy ICT systems as part of a Clinical Systems Strategy in order to benefit from efficiency savings offered by innovative technology. This strategy will include the review of outdated systems including the Patient Administration System (PAS), which is used to perform essential administrative tasks.

Theatre, maternity and A&E systems will also be involved in the review, and the Trust plans to deploy a pharmacy stock control system. With proposals to make drastic changes to the IT infrastructure, it was essential that UH Bristol made preparations to simplify the transition for end-users and keep systems secure, avoiding any potential risk to sensitive patient data.

With strict regulations in place, UH Bristol needed to make these IT updates in compliance with the Information Governance Toolkit, an online system which allows organisations to assess themselves against Department of Health information governance policies and standards. It was also critical to ensure that data security expectations, laid out by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) were met.

Added to this, the Trust currently supports around 150 applications, which clinicians need to access several times a day. Remembering the several usernames and passwords required to log in and out of these electronic systems had long been a challenge for the Trust's staff and, with that in mind, UHB needed a solution that could alleviate these issues, improving clinician workflows while at the same time increasing security around data access.

"Feedback from our users suggested we needed to find a way to comply with the security policies and ensure good governance, without causing them the frustration and workflow disruptions associated with multiple log-ins/offs," said Dave Oatway, Computer Services Manager at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust."

The solution

To make certain that the introduction of new clinical systems ran smoothly, both from a workflow and a security perspective, the Trust introduced Imprivatas' OneSign 4.5, providing secure single sign-on (SSO) access to patient data. The Trust saw this solution as an effective way to simplify access to web-based, legacy and client/server applications, while also paving the way for easy adoption of new applications as the Clinical Systems Strategy gained momentum.

Following a competitive procurement process and proof of concept rollout, Imprivatas' OneSign was implemented and delivered to the Trust's 5,200 users across nine locations.

Imprivata OneSign Single Sign-On provides a single action of user authentication permitting users to access all workstations and applications they are authorised to use. Password-related calls to the IT helpdesk are virtually eliminated by centrally managing each user's complete collection of application passwords and extending seamless and convenient single sign-on to any application.

A major differentiator for UH Bristol was Imprivata OneSign's ability to seamlessly integrate into the existing IT infrastructure, requiring no changes to user directories, applications or physical access control systems. This meant that the project was popular with IT staff and clinical users alike. Employee buy-in was core to the project, where adoption is a key indicator of ROI. The simple-to-use platform has been very popular with end users, accelerating adoption, and providing the perfect foundation to enable future upgrades that will come as the Clinical Systems Strategy progresses.

The results and benefits

For UH Bristol, a core goal of this project was to improve workflow by simplifying user access policies so that as the Clinical Systems Strategy progressed, any potential pitfalls and challenges around user adoption and security would be avoided. Pioneering a change in working practices and laying the foundation for further innovation, the implementation of OneSign was the first step that needed to be completed in order to make the Clinical Systems Strategy successful, both from a business and end-user perspective.

Imprivata OneSign has greatly enhanced staff workflow, and has been used to improve data security practices without becoming a burden for users. SSO permits easy access to clinical and business applications, reducing the amount of time once spent logging in and out of applications.

"As a specialty centre for several different types of treatment, security, confidentiality and clinician productivity are all essential to the care that we are able to provide to our patients. Imprivata has allowed us to tackle the common security challenges associated with multiple passwords, improving data security and simplifying day-to-day access for our users," said Oatway. "With Imprivata, the IT team has improved control across user accounts, meaning that not only are we able to comply with the Information Governance Toolkit, but we are making the lives of our staff easier based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback we've had."