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A children’s hospital discusses benefits of optimizing your identity governance solution

Apr 1, 2022

Identity management, specifically user provisioning and compliance reporting, is a leading initiative among hospitals and healthcare systems. With large volumes of often-fluctuating employees, healthcare is unique to other industries. Job roles change, temporary healthcare workers come and go, and an unprecedented amount of healthcare employees are now fully or partially remote.

Identity governance and administration (IGA) is the key for managing such a workforce, but it’s a complicated and evolving initiative that needs careful management over time. This was the case for a large children’s hospital in the southwest, which recently enlisted Forward Advantage to perform an evaluation and optimization of its existing identity governance solution.

Key goal: manage diverse staffing lifecycles

Many healthcare organizations have mixed working environments which often increased in complexity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some employees are 100% remote while others are hybrid, and there are providers and staff that are fully on-site. A successful identity governance program ensures that employee access to systems is no more or less than what it needs to be. If an employee transfers between departments, any unnecessary access can be easily removed.

Successfully managing these diverse staffing lifecycles is essential to ensure everyone has the access they need to do their job in a timely manner. “To complete something in two hours that would normally take two days can be critical when dealing with sick patients,” says Jim Jeremiah, manager of identity and access management at Forward Advantage.

Key challenge: compliance reporting

This children’s hospital purchased and implemented an identity governance solution many years before connecting with Forward Advantage. After their initial implementation, there were some areas not meeting their desired workflows and goals. One of the main issues was centralized around compliance tasks and reporting, and it prevented them from using the governance portion of the system. At this organization, the managers are responsible for attesting to the user access of their direct reports. They wanted to have compliance task notifications sent to the manager to complete the attestation. In the initial build, the compliance tasks and subsequent reports were going out to everybody. This included the manager, their direct reports, and staff that reported to the manager’s direct reports.

The hospital also lacked the functionality to differentiate managers with expiring users. “If a compliance report was set to run for a manager that had direct reports with an expiration, the system couldn’t tell if a report had already been worked on or not,” says Jeremiah. “That report would be continuously sent out on a weekly basis even if the manager had already done the work, and these reports were unnecessarily showing too many indirect reports.” Forward Advantage was brought in to determine the root cause of their issues. Some were resolved by re-building workflows and others by educating the customer on new features.

Solution: assessment, recommendations and optimization

After partnering with Forward Advantage to optimize its identity governance solution, the hospital achieved immediate value from its investment. Steps included:

  1. Health Check: The first step was an identity governance health-check assessment with documentation of the findings that included recommendations for improvement.

  2. Upgrade to latest version: We then helped upgrade the identity governance solution to the latest version, so the hospital could take advantage of new features that alleviated some of the existing problems.

  3. Optimize features & functionality: Specific areas of focus were on access certifications which had not been successfully implemented yet, training on the software’s governance components, and performing any troubleshooting.

“We started this customer down the road of compliance reporting and good self-governance,” concludes Jeremiah. “My team set up compliance tasks so they can assign drill-down reports that are custom tailored for department managers to ensure each person has the exact privilege they’re supposed to.”

The takeaway

Although many organizations successfully implement IGA programs, it can be a difficult task to fully optimize and maintain them. Forward Advantage provides objective guidance throughout an organization’s identity governance journey. This can be at any stage in your process, from planning and decision making to implementation and beyond. “Automated account provisioning is the bread and butter of any identity governance product, but the magic really happens after an account is provisioned,” concludes Jeremiah. “Provisioned accounts need to be cared for meticulously and continuously to ensure an organization’s employees and non-employees have the rights they need based on their roles, in the most efficient way possible, and only within the timeframe of their jobs.” 

Forward Advantage is 100% healthcare focused, and our experts solve challenges by applying what they discover and learn from other healthcare customers. Whether you are looking to implement or optimize, we will ensure your identity governance goals are met. 

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