Gundersen Lutheran health system is a comprehensive healthcare network including one of the nation's largest multi-specialty group medical practices, regional community clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, home care, behavioral health services, vision centers, pharmacies, and air and ground ambulances. Located throughout western Wisconsin, northeastern Iowa and southeastern Minnesota, the health system has a staff of more than 6,000.
For Gundersen Lutheran, managing user information across more than 500 applications was primarily a manual process, requiring hours of redundant data entry. Users often had to remember six or seven passwords to access applications. By automating identity management, Gundersen Lutheran could simplify user access, increase data security and better comply with HIPAA requirements.
The IT team was also tasked to manage more than 6,000 workstations and nearly 300 handheld devices across 35 locations. Without centralized desktop management, the team had no way of knowing which applications users had on their desktops and was spending a great deal of time traveling to update and troubleshoot individual workstations.
To select an identity management solution, Gundersen Lutheran evaluated several options, as well as research from Gartner, a leading provider of research and analysis on the global IT industry. The health network selected Novell Identity Manager and Novell eDirectoryTM to automate identity management, as well as Novell ZENworks to manage its workstations and handheld devices.
Gundersen Lutheran has more than 9,000 user accounts stored in Novell eDirectory, creating an accurate, central repository for user information. Novell Identity Manager automatically synchronizes user information across several applications, eliminating the need for manual updating. To date, the health network has synchronized 15 applications including Lawson*, Lotus Notes*, Microsoft Active Directory* and its telephone, training, helpdesk, badge and patient clinical systems.
The IT team used to spend hours creating a new user account. Now, when an HR manager enters a new employee in its Lawson HR system, a new user account is automatically generated. Employees receive access to appropriate applications and can begin work right away. Revoking network access across applications has also been automated, and allows the health network to safeguard data security when employees leave the organization.
"In the past, auditing was a cumbersome process because it was difficult to determine which employees had access to what information. With our Novell solution, we can whiz through audits and easily demonstrate compliance with HIPAA requirements. Our auditors love it," said Dawn Comeau-Johnson, Technical Systems Administrator of Gundersen Lutheran Information Systems.
A Novell identity management solution has helped Gundersen Lutheran reduce user management time by 95 percent. Just two existing IT personnel can now administer 9,000 users, including an average of 75 new hires, terminations and job changes per week. With greater control over user access to information, the health network has increased data security, simplified audits and improved compliance with HIPAA requirements.
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