One of the more understated issues when using policy management software is ensuring the users are properly managed within the application space. When working with PolicyMedical’s PolicyManager™ application, this specifically includes: setting a user’s Profile – which features should the user have access to?; assigning a user to Department(s) – which documents should the user be able to touch?; and assigning a user to Committee(s) – which Project groups should the user belong to?
In an attempt to curb the amount of time that is needed in order to perform this task, our PolicyManager™ application can interface with a client’s Active Directory (AD) system over the LDAP (or LDAPS) protocol. At the most basic level, this tool manages authentication of users by using the credentials in their AD – this means users don’t need to learn a new username and password.
What are Active Directory and LDAP?
The AD service acts as a gatekeeper between the user and the facility’s network. The AD service checks the user’s profile to determine what parts the user has access to and what level of access is allowed within the network.
LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol)
LDAP is an open industry-standard protocol for providing directory-like services over a network. Simply, the LDAP protocol facilitates storing, accessing, and updating user information such as a name and email address. It can be compared to the way a phone book stores names, phone numbers, and addresses. LDAP is much more complex than that, as it allows for many fields to be stored on a per-user basis.
How does this help with Policy Management?
As previously mentioned, having your users set up correctly within the application goes a long way to ensuring they are able to perform necessary tasks quickly and efficiently. In the case where users are not provided access to tools they need to get the job done or are unable to access documents they need to work on, much time is spent checking and updating the user’s access levels within the application. PolicyManager™ provides tools to minimize the amount of manual configuration required to manage a client’s user base. There are two main benefits to setting up an LDAP connection between PolicyManager™ and a client AD:
Through the use of simple AD/LDAP integration, users will be able to log-in to PolicyManager™ with the set of credentials they already know and use on a daily basis. There is no need for our users to memorize yet another username and password combination. On the software administration side, there is no need to create a user account as it is done automatically the first time a user logs in.
2. Automated User Management
PolicyManager™ includes a feature called “Import Rules” which allows users that match preset rules to be automatically assigned a Profile, Department(s), and Committee(s).
The rules are based on the fields present within an Active Directory system. For example, an AD may have a field that maps a user’s department to a number (say ‘Nursing’ to 1000). An Import Rule can be created that assigns all users with that department number a specific Profile and Department. The benefits are obvious here – one rule manages the access level of an entire department! There is no need for the administrator of the application at your facility to select each user one-by-one and assign their Profile and Department(s).
Where this feature really shines is when dealing with new hires or people who have changed roles. When properly set up, Import Rules could be set up to manage all users within a facility. Then, when the Active Directory is updated to reflect an existing employee’s new role or a new employee, their access levels would be defined by the Import Rules when they log-in to PolicyManager™! No need for someone to set up an account or update an account!
A user can validate against multiple rules as well, which is where the flexibility and depth of the Import Rules feature are displayed. Import Rules can be set up to be as complex or as simple as needed depending on the facility’s needs.
Managing users doesn’t need to be time-consuming
User management is an important administrative task that ensures the smooth operation of policy management software from an end-user perspective. Keeping a single user’s, a department’s set of users or even an entire facility’s userbase’s set of access levels up-to-date can be a tedious task when performed manually. PolicyManager™’s AD/LDAP integration coupled with the Import Rules feature provides a way to automate this task and save time in the long run. For more information on policy management software in general, see this blog post by my colleague Anna. Additionally, Yusuf, our Client Success Manager, pointed out some other more commonly-encountered issues that can be avoided by using PolicyManager™ here.
PolicyMedical specializes in policy and document management software designed specifically for the healthcare industry. Our signature policy management software application, PolicyManager™, is currently being utilized by over 3,000 healthcare organizations and hospitals throughout the United States and Canada. If you have any questions about our software, feel free to contact us here and one of our teammates will share in 20 minutes or less why hospitals are implementing this solution and how they are benefiting.