Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust securely speeds up access to essential clinical applications with Imprivata OneSign

Key facts

Industry: Healthcare

Location: West Sussex, UK

Employees: 6,881

Beds: 953


  • Need to move towards becoming a paperless organisation
  • Simplifying care provider access to clinical applications
  • Ensuring continued security of patient information


  • Fast, secure No Click Access® to clinical applications, enabling more focus on patient care
  • Improved patient satisfaction
  • Optimised workflows for e-prescribing of controlled substances

About Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust serves a population of more than 450,000 people, of which a relatively high proportion are over the age of 65. The trust runs three hospitals and became a NHS Foundation Trust on 1 July 2013.

In 2016, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) judged the Trust as outstanding and particularly praised its A&E, medical, and end of life care, as well as its maternity, gynaecology, and children’s services. The CQC also commended the quality, safety and innovation at the trust.

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is just the third acute hospital to be judged outstanding since the present system of inspections for hospitals and other health services was introduced in England in 2014.

Business challenge

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has a five year plan of digital transformation with the ultimate aim of being a paperless organisation. A clinical document management system has started deployment and is part of a five year project to remove reliance upon paper notes within the Trust. However, the imminent requirement was to address the security and accessibility of the current applications in use.

The organisation has over 300 applications which are accessed daily by clinicians and care providers. Each application requires a username and password to be entered when used – a process that can occur several times during an average shift. The administration burden on the users was becoming insurmountable and the trust wanted a solution to securely speed up access.


A single sign-on solution seemed the logical choice. However, before committing to this approach, the trust conducted a small proof of concept with Imprivata. The response from the doctors involved was universally positive. The trial had highlighted how much time frontline staff were spending grappling with systems. Once budget was approved, the project was sent out for tender and Imprivata was selected.

Grant Harris, Head of IT Operations at Western Sussex Hospital NHS Foundation Trust says; “Imprivata was the stand out winner from all the systems we evaluated, the solution is incredibly intuitive and user friendly, and the feedback from staff continues to be overwhelmingly positive.”

Fast, secure, and auditable access

The Imprivata OneSign® Single Sign-On, Authentication Management, and Self-Service Password Management platform has been deployed across two of the hospitals within the trust, Worthing and St. Richard’s. The solution is used by 3,000 frontline staff that access the system via their NHS smart card, which has a proximity chip that is scanned by the proximity card readers. Instead of being required to remember and repetitively enter usernames and passwords, clinicians simply tap their badge to the proximity card reader and, coupled with their PIN, gain access to the systems they need.

Harris explains; “The first time a clinician accesses the system they are taken through an enrolment process that ties their account to the card with a PIN. The Imprivata solution remembers the mapping and each time a user taps their card, the solution reads the certificate, identifies the user, requests their unique PIN and, if it matches, grants access to the system.”

Moving the focus from technology to patients

The trust has 36 applications profiled within the Imprivata solution. These were chosen on the basis of number of interactions by clinicians; all have mandatory password expiry settings that prompt for new passwords on a regular basis. This used to cause several problems with many users forgetting passwords which required resets from the IT service desk.

The Imprivata platform has alleviated the burden of expired passwords by automatically inputting the current password into the application. Staff are only required to enter a new password – the Imprivata solution remembers the password, ensuring that subsequent access to systems and applications involves just a simple tap of a badge.

Harris comments; “Our clinicians access between 15 and 20 applications and systems each day. They each have varying password complexity requirements and expiry dates. This was a huge burden on clinicians and led to staff adopting poor password management practices, such as using the same password for multiple systems, and writing passwords down. The Imprivata platform has moved the focus from technology to patients, enabling clinicians to focus on the job they elected to do.”

Fast, secure signing for drug administration

The trust uses the JAC Medicines Management electronic prescribing system for stock control, e-prescribing and medicine administration. Imprivata Confirm ID™ integrates seamlessly with the JAC system enabling fast, secure authentication for witness signing of drug administering and other workflows.

Harris explains; “Imprivata has helped us optimise our use of the JAC system by improving efficiencies for clinicians and enabling fast, convenient authentication for witness signing. Enabling these automated workflows with the same process we have for SSO delivers a consistent, familiar workflow for accessing workstations and applications, as well as for the re-authentication workflows within the JAC system. Not only has this driven adoption, but we have improved visibility and have implemented a more complete audit trail for prescribing, administering, and disposing of controlled drugs.”

Business benefits

The key objective of the project was to securely speed up access to essential applications and pave the way for a paperless organisation. The Imprivata OneSign platform has achieved this by streamlining the authentication process and reducing login times for common applications by 53 seconds. At over 100,0000 logins per week, this equates to 7.88 weeks of time gained and re-allocated to patient care per week. Clinicians are able to focus more on patient care and less on technology. The strong two-factor authentication process has ensured the trust is meeting its security and regulatory compliance requirements whilst enabling front line staff to gain fast, secure, and auditable access to essential clinical applications.

The integration of Imprivata Confirm ID with the JAC Medicines Management electronic prescribing system has simplified user authentication, improved efficiency and auditing, and saved time, whilst also strengthening security. In addition, the Imprivata self-service password management solution has dramatically reduced calls to the IT service desk for password reset. Clinicians can quickly and securely reset their password with no service desk involvement and with minimal productivity downtime for clinicians.

Roger Duckitt, Clinical Director of Acute Medicine concludes: “Quick and secure access to patient information at the point of care is absolutely vital and the Imprivata solution has delivered this advantage without compromising patient data security. We no longer have to endure lengthy login processes to access essential applications. Our emphasis and a greater proportion of our time can now be spent on improving healthcare outcomes for our patients.”