Scottish NHS signs £1.8 million security deal

NHS Ambulance

NHS Scotland is tightening up data security, by rolling out single sign on software for its patient systems.

The deployment covers all 97 hospitals in Scotland, as well as 1,300 GP practices. Single sign on technology, as well as new password reset software, is being installed by reseller Trustmarque, Northgate Managed Services, a systems integrator, and Imprivata, which will be supplying its OneSign software.

The deployment will cover up to 130,000 staff throughout NHS Scotland, in clinical and administrative jobs. The technology is being rolled out to staff who need access to patient data.

As part of the Scottish Government's Better Health, Better Care initiative, Scotland's 14 NHS boards are aiming to improve workflows associated with electronic patient data, as well as reducing costs and improving security.

By opting for an appliance-based technology, NHS managers said, the organisation will be able to integrate single sign on with existing applications and NHS Scotland's Active Directory system, without infrastructure changes.

The nationwide deployment follows a pilot project, run by the NHS Fife board, which covered 3,000 users. The pilot will be followed by deployments by the Lothian, Borders and Galloway NHS Boards.

NHS Scotland hopes that, by providing a single sign on system for its clinical applications GPs, consultants and other health workers will be able to spend more time with patients.

"Single sign on ensures that our patient data remains highly secure, and maximises the time available between patient and clinician," said Ronnie Monaghan, head of e-Health Programmes at NHS Fife, and one of the project leaders for the initial pilot.

"This will prove significant for improving access and usage of key clinical systems for providing care on a national scale."

The project, which is valued at 1.8 million over five years, is one of the largest deployments of single sign on technology so far in the UK public sector. According to Imprivata, its average NHS customer holds 2,622 licences, although it is currently used in 27 per cent of English NHS bodies. Globally, the vendor claims 1.5 million healthcare users for its technology.