A Healthcare Success Story: Moffitt Cancer Center Gets Relief from Password and User Provisioning Woes

"Imprivata gave us a stand-alone, out-of-the-box solution that was second to none in the industry."
Edward Martinez
VP and CIO

Business Situation

As a cancer center with the third largest outpatient volume in the United States, the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, Florida is a bustling institution with a national reputation for excellence in care and treatment. In fact, the National Cancer Institute has designated Moffitt as a Comprehensive Cancer Center for its excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt, a Cerner hospital for more than 10 years, operates 19 affiliate institutions, employs more than 2,600 people, supports in excess of 300 researchers and faculty from the University of South Florida, and handles over 232,060 outpatient visits per year.

With that high patient volume and a constantly-changing population of physicians and nurses using a variety of software applications, Moffitt’s IT officials were concerned that password and provisioning problems could compromise the Center’s mission of delivering superior care.

According to Edward Martinez, Moffitt’s Vice President and Chief Information Officer, there were two challenges to solve. “Our front-end challenge was, how do we provide single sign-on to a diverse set of anywhere from six to ten applications that have been running in our environment for many, many years while providing a seamless user experience to our nurses and physicians?” he explained.

The back-end challenge was equally daunting.“The provisioning of accounts changes rapidly; it was a manual nightmare for our IT staff,” said Martinez.“Every 30 to 90 days, we have a different set of residents coming through our doors from the University of South Florida and other places.

The research scientists on our faculty also change from time to time, so keeping up with all of those changes became a big burden for us.”

The burden was bound to become bigger, too. Moffitt has grown rapidly and in December of 2006 announced the formation of M2GEN, a joint venture with pharmaceutical giant Merck to develop individualized cancer treatments. M2GEN’s facility will be built in the Tampa area and will add hundreds of users.

Martinez and his team knew what they were looking for—but it was a fairly tall order. “We wanted to create an environment where users had the ability to launch their applications without having to remember 15 different passwords, which is a big, big problem for our physicians,” he said. “At the same time, we wanted to be able to streamline provisioning so that when a user is entered into our HR system, it automatically generates role-based credentials for that application, and provisions those users for the right application.”

Moffitt’s IT staff considered a variety of approaches. However, Martinez soon found an answer that fulfilled all of his criteria: “The solution was Imprivata and Courion.”


The initial impetus for the project was to find an easy-to-deploy and practical way to enable single sign-on to all of Moffitt’s user applications. For Moffitt, there was no question which product offered the best way — Imprivata OneSign. “Imprivata gave us a stand-alone, out-of-the box solution that was second to none in the industry. You can drop a box in and be up and running within a few days, essentially. For us, that was a huge, huge win.”

Imprivata OneSign® enables each Moffitt clinician to log in to all of the applications they use with a single password, speeding application access, improving productivity, and ensuring prompt patient care.

In the course of evaluating OneSign, Martinez and his colleagues realized that Imprivata’s single sign-on appliance also offered an avenue to solving their provisioning issues. “We looked at this as two separate projects initially,” explained Martinez, “but in the process, we saw that there was overlap between the front end and the back end.”

“Okay, if we use Imprivata for single sign-on, what do we do to tie it in with the back end?”Martinez asked his team. The answer was AccountCourier® user provisioning solution from Courion, an Imprivata technology partner and provider of enterprise provisioning and access compliance solutions. AccountCourier is a fully automated account provisioning and user ID management solution that lets authorized end users instantly grant or revoke account access to systems, applications, and Web portals. AccountCourier helps enforce account provisioning policies, identify orphaned accounts, and offer workflow appropriate for both technical and non-technical end users. Besides being partners, both Imprivata and Courion were recently named among Info Security’s “Hot Companies” for 2007 by Info Security Products Guide, the world’s leading publication on security-related products.

The Imprivata/Courion partnership made the link between passwords and provisioning even easier to manage because OneSign and AccountCourier share all credential data. To integrate the two systems, Courion developed a OneSign connector, which takes advantage of OneSign’s SPML - compliant provisioning interface, allowing information to move easily between the Imprivata and Courion environments.

According to Edward Martinez, it wasn’t just the Imprivata and Courion products that interoperated seamlessly. “We found that the two companies could work very closely together on this project,” he said. “We have had no problems whatsoever working with both companies. There’s a lot of synergy between them.”

The Imprivata/Courion solution also supports Moffitt’s strong authentication measures. The Institute currently uses SecureID and is piloting proximity technology. Secure remote access is another component of the solution. “We use SSL for strong authentication for our remote users, and it’s completely seamless to them,” said Martinez. “It’s compatible with all our Citrix applications, as well.”

Mr. Martinez sees the Imprivata/Courion solution as integral to serving the Moffitt Cancer Center’s larger mission. “We wanted to achieve a measurable improvement in our processes,” he said. “We didn’t just do this because it’s nice for the techs in the back end. We wanted to provide a level of customer service unheard of in the medical world.”

That commitment to service is what helped Moffitt Cancer Center achieve the prestigious 2006 “100 Most Wired” Health Organizations in America Award. As Edward Martinez explained, it all comes down to better care: “We’re very sensitive to the fact that we’re taking care of patients here. We need to improve our processes to better serve our patient population.”