Health Service Focus

12.02.18

Isosec launches first Virtual Smartcard to revolutionise NHS authentication

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A new virtual smartcard which promises to transform NHS efficiency and improve patient care is now available to NHS trusts and clinicians, says Jo Flynn, marketing manager at Isosec.

Isosec, the market-leading provider of security, authentication and workflow solutions to the NHS and healthcare sectors, has announced the launch and availability of the first Virtual Smartcard for NHS trusts and clinicians.

Virtual Smartcard by Isosec is already in use with the Barnsley Hospital NHS FT and available to NHS organisations with immediate effect.

This is the latest of a series of innovations from Isosec. The Isosec Virtual Smartcard virtualises the physical NHS smartcard into the cloud, allowing NHS clinicians to access their clinical workspace using not only their desktop, but almost any device (iPad/iPhone/Android/Windows) whilst maintaining required levels of security. Virtual Smartcard works with all NHS smartcards, HR cards and RFID tags. Isosec Virtual Smartcard can also authenticate using biometrics (fingerprint) on those devices that are enabled.

Isosec’s Virtual Smartcard leverages the strength of the existing RA process and eliminates any inefficiencies. Known as eGIF Level 3, Virtual Smartcard mandates a strong identity check of the person requesting a smartcard.

“Isosec and the Virtual Smartcard has solved a huge problem for us and actually directly impacted our patient care,” said Tom Davidson, ICT director at Barnsley Hospital NHS FT.

“We’re getting nurses turning up, getting what they need to access the system straight away, getting the right training at the right time, in the right place so that they can get on with delivering the care that they need to deliver. I highly recommend this technology to any NHS organisation.”

The Isosec Virtual Smartcard addresses a multitude of inefficiencies the NHS is currently facing from managing physical smartcards. Issuing physical cards takes a long time and requires specialist printers for production. Common issues and inefficiencies around issuing physical cards arise when recruiting agency staff and cohorts of new doctors. Clinicians and staff have to travel around the trust to register for cards, so Virtual Smartcard is a big time saving for them.

Virtual Smartcards can be reset using a self-service portal to avoid the lengthy re-registration process. As the Virtual Smartcard is held in the cloud, there is nothing to physically lose, share or leave in a reader. This improves compliance and information governance to eliminate common unsafe workaround tactics that have emerged as a result of the inefficient physical cards.

“The Isosec Virtual Smartcard is a game changer for the NHS,” commented Marc Poulaud, CTO and founder at Isosec.

“By improving clinical experience, patient care gets better and better. Virtual Smartcard just works without being cumbersome to clinicians. We consistently save our customers and users time in an increasingly busy and demanding climate, where there is absolutely no time to spare for awkward multiple logins and passcodes.” 

Architecture Diagram - Virtual Smartcard, IsosecClick on the image to open it in a new window.

Virtual Smartcard factsheet

  • Isosec Virtual Smartcards can be used in combination with physical smartcards within an organisation, so not every user has to be registered for Virtual Smartcard at the same time;
  • As of January one NHS trust is live with Virtual Smartcard, with more coming online soon;
  • Virtual Smartcard is secured by all NHS security standards and still requires two-factor authentication (something user has – a smartphone/biometric, plus something the user knows – the passcode);
  • Every use of a Virtual Smartcard is audited, geotagged and digitally signed, giving an organisation an unequivocal view of when and who has authentication, which apps were used and for how long. This information is communicated back for the trust via the Isosec Analytics dashboard;
  • Virtual Smartcard came from a concept to help NHS trusts with agency staff management. A common approach to allocating cards for temporary staff is to just have a stack of common cards, but with Virtual Smartcard allocating cards is much quicker and more efficient – and there are no cards left ‘in the wild’ with inaccurate staff data on them;
  • Virtual Smartcard and Isosec are device agnostic. We work with Apple, Android and Windows tablets. Fingerprint Recognition is obviously only available on devices that are enabled. To use Fingerprint Recognition to authenticate Virtual Smartcard must first be registered.

FAQ

  • Is Virtual Smartcard secure?

In the end-to-end security context Virtual Smartcard is actually more secure than physical smartcards, as Virtual Smartcard leverages all the security of the physical card (Strong RA processes, strong encryption) but eradicates the security workarounds users can adopt with physical cards, such as loaning cards, leaving them in readers and using communal cards – which can potentially lead to security breaches and information governance problems.

  • Is there a clinical benefit?

Clinicians lose valuable time when they cannot access clinical systems due to a locked physical smartcard. If this happens in a remote location or in the middle of the night, for example, they have to wait until an RA manager is available to unlock the card for them. This could potentially be the next day, the IT office is likely to be further away from clinical buildings, and treatment can get delayed. Virtual Smartcard removes this barrier with the Self-Service Portal and Virtual RA so clinicians can continue treating patients in a timely manner.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
W: www.isosec.co.uk
W: Animated explainer video
W: Case study video with Barnsley Hospital NHS FT

Comments

Sandy Richards   14/02/2018 at 19:10

a query- can this be used across organisations for example across an STP footprint in 3 different Trusts? Kind regards

Steven Kean   20/02/2018 at 17:07

Sandy, many thanks for your comment. This is a cloud based service which is intra-operable across the desired estate. For more information feel free to drop me a line steven.kean@isosec.co.uk

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