The Importance of Customer Identity and Access Management in Healthcare and Pharmacy

Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) is crucial for the Healthcare and Pharmacy industries. CIAM ensures secure access to sensitive patient data, protecting against breaches and ensuring compliance with regulations such as HIPAA. Effective CIAM systems improve patient experience by providing seamless access to services while safeguarding personal health information. Implementing robust CIAM practices is essential for maintaining trust and operational efficiency in these sectors.

This article discusses the role of CIAM in Healthcare and Pharmacy industries and provides information about modern approaches to secure patients identities and access to specific resources leveraging Formula5’s External Identities Hub Architecture.

What is CIAM?

Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solutions enable organizations to create and maintain customer profiles, authenticate customers’ identities, authorize access to specific resources and services, and manage customers’ consent and preferences. These capabilities help organizations provide personalized and secure experiences to their customers while maintaining compliance with data protection regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA.

Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solutions are becoming increasingly important in the healthcare industry as more healthcare organizations seek to provide a seamless and secure digital experience for their patients.

In summary, CIAM solutions provide healthcare organizations with the tools they need to provide a seamless and secure digital experience for their patients. This can help improve patient engagement, satisfaction, and outcomes, while also reducing costs and improving efficiency for healthcare providers.

The role of CIAM in maintaining HIPAA compliance

HIPAA, (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), is a U.S. law that sets standards for protecting sensitive patient health information. It ensures that medical data is kept private and secure, and it provides patients with rights over their health information. HIPAA requires healthcare providers, insurers, and related entities to follow strict protocols to safeguard patient data. HIPAA encompasses various regulations to ensure the privacy and security of Electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI).

It sets the requirements for healthcare organizations, including access control, unique user identification, password management, workstation and device security, audit controls, transmission security, and account termination. Each of these requirements safeguards ePHI. Let’s look at some of these requirements, and explain how CIAM solutions can help cover them.

Authentication

HIPAA requires healthcare organizations to verify that entities seeking access to ePHI are who they claim to be. This is typically done through mechanisms such as passwords, PINs, biometric identifiers, or smart cards. With CIAM solutions, patients accounts are securely stored and maintained. Patients can create their accounts and then authenticate (for example with username and password) to securely access their ePHI in some applications (like patient’s portal app).

Access control

Healthcare organizations must implement procedures to control who can access ePHI. This includes assigning unique user IDs, implementing role-based access controls (RBAC), and ensuring that access is granted based on the principle of least privilege. With CIAM solutions it is possible to assign each user (like patient) a unique identifier during account creation. CIAM solutions often offer additional authorization mechanisms (like roles for the users) to guard access to specific resources.

Audit Controls

Healthcare organizations must implement mechanisms to record and examine activity in systems that contain or use ePHI. Audit controls help monitor access and use of ePHI, detect unauthorized access, and facilitate timely response to security incidents. CIAM solutions provide comprehensive and transparent visibility into user access events, detailing authentication events and accessed resources.

CIAM scenarios in Healthcare and Pharmacy industries

Even if some people are not familiar with CIAM term (or Customer Identity and Access Management) there is a high chance they already used such solutions in the past. Let’s discuss some scenarios where CIAM solutions are used in healthcare and pharmacy industries.

Patient Portal Access

Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) systems enable secure access to patient portals, allowing individuals to view medical records, schedule appointments, communicate with healthcare providers, and access educational resources. This ensures patients enjoy convenient, controlled access to their health information while upholding privacy and security standards.

Prescription Management

Within the pharmacy industry, CIAM serves to efficiently manage access to online prescription services. Patients securely log in to order refills, track prescription statuses, receive medication reminders, and access pertinent information about their medications. Authentication methods, including two-factor authentication, bolster security measures for safeguarding sensitive prescription data.

Tele-medicine Platforms

Amid the rising utilization of telemedicine services, CIAM assumes a critical role in verifying patient identities for virtual healthcare consultations. CIAM systems authenticate patients prior to granting access to telemedicine platforms, thereby ensuring that only authorized individuals engage in remote appointments.

CIAM facilitates easy access to healthcare and pharmacy services through various channels like web portals, mobile apps, kiosks, and call centers. Patients can select their preferred method of interaction with healthcare providers or pharmacists, ensuring consistent authentication and authorization processes. Tailoring CIAM solutions to meet the unique needs of the healthcare and pharmacy sectors helps organizations boost patient engagement, enhance medication adherence, maintain regulatory compliance, and provide personalized, secure services to their clients.

External Identities Hub Architecture

At Formula5, we understand that building and managing Customer Identity and Access Management, can be challenging. This is why we’ve created Formula5’s External Identities Hub Architecture.

It offers an architecture design proposal along with initial scripts and source code to accelerate development of modern Customer Identity and Access Management platform leveraging Microsoft Entra External ID and Azure cloud services.

External Identities Hub Architecture plays a pivotal role in assisting clients within the Healthcare and Pharmacy sectors. We specialize in developing advanced Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solutions tailored to the unique requirements of these industries. By leveraging our expertise, we enable our clients to establish secure, reliable, and scalable CIAM solutions leveraging Azure cloud services. These solutions are crafted to enhance user experiences while ensuring stringent data security and regulatory compliance, thus empowering healthcare and pharmacy organizations to manage identities effectively in today’s digital landscape.

Summary

In this article, we discussed the importance of Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solutions in the Healthcare and Pharmacy industries. CIAM solutions provide healthcare organizations with the tools they need to provide a seamless and secure digital experience for their patients. This can help improve patient engagement, satisfaction, and outcomes, while also reducing costs and improving efficiency for healthcare providers. With Formula5’s External Identities Hub Architecture, we help our customers with building highly available, modern, and secure platforms for managing customer identities.

Written By

Modern Identity Lead

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