Modern identity management solutions to advance healthcare's digital transformation — 5 takeaways

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During the pandemic, digital transformation and telehealth adoption accelerated. But cybercrime activities targeting healthcare organizations also increased.

During a June webinar sponsored by ForgeRock and hosted by Becker's Hospital Review, a panel of identity management experts discussed the security threats that healthcare organizations face and the benefits of modern identity solutions. The panelists were:

  • Steve Gwizdala, vice president, healthcare, North America, ForgeRock
  • Eve Maler, chief technology officer, ForgeRock
  • Salwa Rafee, global managing director, healthcare security, Accenture
  • Damon Mcdougald, global digital identity lead, Accenture

Five key takeaways:

1. Healthcare organizations face rising, expensive security risks. "The digital transformation in healthcare has completely taken off due to the pandemic," Ms. Rafee said. "Telehealth is here to stay." At the same time, she said, there has been "an exponential increase in cybercrime." Ms. Maler shared data indicating that 34 percent of 2021 security breaches have been in healthcare, which is the most targeted sector; the average cost per compromised record is $474. As a result of these threats, "Healthcare organizations are racing to adopt more IT security solutions and capabilities," Ms. Rafee said.

2. While identity management is critically important, many organizations suffer from an identity tech debt. "Identity is the strongest security control a healthcare organization can and will implement, but it is also one of the biggest targets for the bad guys to go after," Mr. Mcdougald said.

Unfortunately, Mr. Mcdougald also sees healthcare organizations wrestling with a "tech debt," in that they are using legacy identity tools that were implemented 10 to 15 years ago. "Current IT systems are really hindering both payers and providers from being nimble and staying ahead of business requirements," Mr. Gwizdala said. "If you don't have a modern identity tool," Mr. Mcdougald said, "organizations can't support telemedicine the way they want to at the pace they want to, and can't do new business initiatives."

3. Modern identity management can enhance the patient experience. Ms. Rafee said for payers, identity access management is a critical solution. It provides a single view of the member, enabling an easy, seamless, personalized experience across all services, which increases member satisfaction, trust and retention. Digital identity empowers patients and members to control their health records and data sharing.

4. ForgeRock provides "autonomous identity." ForgeRock has capabilities using machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide autonomous identity that can offer transparency about identity across the entire organization. Autonomous identity allows an organization to assess their entire enterprise to look at where all of the identities reside and determine what is good access, what is risky access and what can be automated and streamlined. "It gives a single enterprise view to the compliance teams, the identity teams, to anybody who's concerned about who has access to what," Mr. Gwizdala said.

5. Modern identity management provides a host of additional benefits. In addition to enhanced security and an improved patient/member experience, modern identity management improves compliance with security standards, reduces fraud and positions healthcare organizations as audit ready. It can be a competitive differentiator for payers and providers, and per Mr. Mcdougald, can dramatically improve time to value. Modern identity management reduces risks and can generate savings by reducing IT infrastructure costs, reducing help desk calls, enabling greater self-service, identifying bad access, reducing over-provisioning and allowing organizations to undertake automation.

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