Biometrics – Multiple Users

Posted on March 14, 2006 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Multiple Users
In my continuing Biometrics experience I found some interesting problems when multiple people use the same computer. This isn’t a problem when you have a tablet or convertible that is dedicated to a specific doctor or nurse. Once you place a computer in an exam room and want mutliple doctors and nurses to use EMR on the same computer you have a major problem.

The worst solution is to make each doctor or nurse log in and out of windows. Otherwise, the biometrics software can only allow the person who logged into windows log into the EMR. We all know how long it takes for Windows to log in and out and so that’s not an option. By the time you are logged in and out of Windows you will have no need for the computer, because your visit with the patient will be done. This is ideal for those counseling centers using EMR. It’s not unreasonable for them to log in and out because they don’t share computers as much and often are going to spend a long period of time charting their clients.

What’s the solution? The key is that you want the computer locked so you have good security, but you don’t want to have to log the windows user in and out of the system. My friends (at least they better be friends since I’m writing such nice things about them) at Digital Persona have a solution they’ve created for just this problem. It’s been termed to me as their “kiosk” software.

This kiosk software was described to me as being able to have a generic windows login to a “kiosk” computer. This “kiosk” computer in our example would be a computer in an exam room. Many of you HIPAA experts out there may be ready to scream VIOLATION at the thought of a generic login shared by multiple users. Have no fear! This isn’t the EMR and HIPAA log for nothing. A generic windows login really isn’t a problem in this case because it is all integrated with active directory. You set a group policy that allows a group of users access to that generic login. Only those users will be able to use the generic login and unlock the computer. Furthermore, every time the generic login is used it is all nicely logged by the biometrics software for future security needs. Isn’t that great?

One caveat is that Digital Persona’s “kiosk” software must be tied to their active directory server software which I’ve mentioned before.

The best summary is one computer used by multiple users using biometrics to securely log into EMR.