Bridgepoint Health banks on new data portal

Its business is providing “complex” care services but — with the launch of its new portal — communications at Bridgepoint Health have become really simple.

Located in Toronto, Bridgepoint is one of Canada’s largest and most extensive integrated health care organizations offering services such as complex rehabilitation, complex care, long-term care, and community-based care.

The new portal was deployed in response to a longstanding need of physicians and staff: timely and secure access to critical data.

And, according to the health care provider, many of these goals are now being met. Following the portal launch, data access speeds have improved by 90 per cent.

Until fairly recently, though, the situation at Bridgepoint was very different.

The health provider had been running many disparate data systems and applications. This meant its approximately 1,200 physicians and staff had to remember multiple user names and passwords to access vital applications.

“We maintained separate databases for accounts and access rights and privileges for each of our standalone systems,” said Steve Banyai, Bridgepoint Health CIO. “We had very few integrated systems — we worked on an application by application basis.”

The need of the hour was for a much broader and comprehensive system that focused on the health provider’s strategic priorities, said Banyai. These included looking at authoritative sources for defining access rights and tools and technologies to streamline the process.

The answer was MyBridgepoint, a portal designed to provide Bridgepoint physicians and staff access to critical data.

For 80 per cent of its users, the portal will soon be the primary channel through which they access applications.

If timely and secure access was one part of the puzzle, ubiquitous access was the other. The health provider wanted to ensure its mobile workers could access a wide range of apps regardless of their location.

“We had to focus on delivering that one-stop-shop access to systems information, security and confidentiality,” Banyai said.

To that end consultants from Novell Canada worked with Bridgepoint to integrate the organization’s disparate applications into a single portal using Novell extend, a suite of tools for the rapid development and deployment of service-oriented apps.

The “enterprise-wide single sign-on” capability of the portal is one of its most attractive features, Banyai said. “Once [users] connect to the network they don’t have to enter a username or password for any of the applications or systems we have.”

He said Bridgepoint has developed an information management strategy, so it can effectively push appropriate information out to physicians and staff.

The most important thing that an identity solution can do is allow people to do the jobs you hired them to do, according to Ross Chevalier, CTO/CIO at Novell Canada.

“Don’t force them to become technologists,” he said. “Be able to say, ‘who did what and when?’ and be able to prove it.”

Bridgepoint now uses Novell Identity Manager to provide identity integration, identity transition and proper mapping, according to Chevalier.

“Bridgepoint wanted something that was simple and easy to use,” Chevalier said. “They wanted the ability to ‘portalize’ so when people logged into secure networks they only had to go to one place.”

He said its important to be able to deliver content to hospital staff in a highly consumable manner through a browser-based interface, so there is not a lot of time spent logging into different locations.

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