Anywhere, anytime remote access at Cambridge, Ont. hospital

Cambridge Memorial Hospital (CMH) staff is set to have fullaccess to critical hospital information systems anytime,anywhere.

CMH is currently phasing in Role Oriented Access ManagementSystem (ROAM) technology from Saint John, N.B.-based AnyWare Group with implementation to becompleted by October.

ROAM provides a secure communications infrastructure thatincludes an integrated desktop portal and role based identitymanagement, according to the company. ROAM is essentially a”ubiquitous” desktop and will be used by the entire hospital staffof 1,200.

The new system will allow hospital workers access to informationon everything from administrative systems like accounts payable andhuman resources to detailed and critical patient information.

It’s necessary for staff to access the information via highspeed Internet, which CMH’s manager of information technology EdNorwich said was a challenge for some staff to buy into.

“The challenge for us was making sure that people understoodthat you should have high speed Internet,” said Norwich. “Changingdoctor’s thought processes around that took a bit of a challenge,but we’re getting there,”

The main reason CMH selected ROAM is accessibility, he said.

“We’ve gone through some significant transitions over the lastthree years (including) upgraded (CMH) network infrastructure,”said Norwich. “We built the infrastructure from ground up and thatwas fine for us internally.”

Although, it also meant that CMH needed to start looking at animproved way of providing accessibility for users, he said.

“It was important for not only physicians but all staff and theyneeded to address how they wanted them to use the network, as wellas access information for security purposes.”

Security is one of the key benefits from ROAM which is always aconcern if someone is connecting in from outside the hospital,according to AnyWare CEO Gerry Verner.

“The unique thing about (CMH) and what we were able to do withROAM is that it not only served the remote users but also allinternal users in the hospital,” said Verner. “They all go throughthe same process of authentication.”

Verner added that ROAM would be the common desktop for all oftheir users which solves two problems at once, access managementand making sure that remote users were secure.

It’s also something that could be used in the event of apandemic such as SARS, which is an important factor to one oftheir ROAM clients, North York General Hospital where SARS hitespecially hard.

“For example if they came in one day and said, ‘No one canreport to work today because there’s a flu pandemic,’ they caneasily add 500 users in a day and access information systems fromhome,” he said.

Vernon noted that a future use of ROAM could be for emergencyresponders such as fire and police services in the event of adisaster.

“We definitely see that as a market,” he said. “If you thinkabout a municipal government, they have their employees, but thenyou also have the fire and police.”

“So we see it as very much tying into the emergency response aswell.”

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