THE ROI OF SSO: How Single Sign-On Is Paying Off for Hospitals


With login processes continuing to be a complex and costly issue, more and more hospitals are implementing single sign-on (SSO) technology for the promise of productivity gains and financial rewards. In fact, today, SSO—the technology that enables users to log on to all the software systems throughout the hospital with a single ID—are now mission-critical for healthcare.

In addition to helping prevent data breaches, providing hospital staff with SSO credentials makes it easier for them to adopt electronic medical records (EMR) and for the hospitals to improve the bottom line. 

The ROI of SSO

national study by the Ponemon Institute in 2011 found that the average clinician spends 122 hours a year accessing various forms of EMR. With its ability to automate and streamline the login process, SSO can drastically cut that time. The report estimates savings for hospitals at upwards of $2 million a year.[1]

Even though implementing an SSO authentication solution can be a costly proposition, the financial value of SSO for healthcare organizations has proven itself in case after case and many hospitals have realized significant dollar savings after replacing their complicated login processes.

Nothing to Sneeze At

A recent report by the International Journal of Medical Informatics[2] cites an example of an SSO implementation at CHRISTUS Health, a health system comprising more than 60 hospitals and long-term care facilities, that resulted in dramatic time savings in clinician login time at each facility.

Before the implementation, clinicians had to remember and refresh as many as 20 (or more) passwords for each application they accessed throughout the day. According to the report, administrators at CHRISTUS found that SSO “eliminates the clicks, key strokes and need for complex passwords that have been anathema to many clinicians.” With completion of the SSO implementation, the time savings translated to annual dollar savings of more than $92 million per hospital.

Speedy Results

At Southwest Washington Medical Center, SSO delivered a return on investment, paying for the project cost of $100,000, in just eight months.[3] The hospital also saved 20% on server resources and other costs. Now, the hospital reports that SSO saves 15 to 30 seconds per login, or approximately five minutes per day per employee.

Time is Money

Baystate Health, an integrated health system in Massachusetts comprising four hospitals, is another example of significant time savings from SSO technology. In fact, in just the first five months after implementing an SSO solution, the system saved nearly 1,800 hours of employee login time, representing significant annual dollar cost savings.

The Impact on IT

In addition to the time savings that result from eliminating multiple logins, SSO eliminates much of the time spent by help desks dealing with password issues. Gartner estimates that as much as half of all help desk calls deal with password resets. Forrester Research estimates the average cost of a single help desk call dealing with a password rest at $70—and the total annual staffing and infrastructure costs of password resets for large organizations at $1 million.[4]

A Qualitative ROI

In addition to the costs attributable to staff time savings, SSO technology brings other benefits that can indirectly contribute to the bottom line.  By helping physicians access secure personal health information data about their patients from their mobile devices, SSO can help improve delivery of patient care. The Poneman Institute study demonstrated the contributions that SSO makes toward efficiency and security improvements. Many subsequent studies have shown increased satisfaction among users and the organization with the implementation of SSO technology at shared workstations,[5] as well as reductions in staff turnover and greater adoption of EMR applications.

RF IDeas provides a comprehensive menu of HIPAA-compliant readers and devices to keep healthcare organizations on top of their compliance requirements in the digital world. With RF IDeas as your partner, you can realize a quick ROI—as well as improved efficiency, productivity and security at your healthcare organization.