affinitex' Manatee Context Manager and VeriMe Personal Authenticator support hospitals' mobile care providers

Ottawa 29 January 2002affinitex, the health care division of AiT, has unveiled its new Manatee CCOW Context Manager and version 2 of its VeriMe personal authenticator at the 2002 Annual Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia. The company also has launched its third pilot project. A clinical unit of a primary care hospital in the United States is deploying a completely integrated digital health care information system, and affinitex' VeriMe solution will secure access to patient data contained in clinical applications.


Manatee is a software service that acts as "mission control" for the care provider's desktop, synchronising multiple and diverse clinical software applications so that data can be accessed in the specific context, for example the patient, which is most relevant for the user. Based on the Health Level Seven (HL7) standard for CCOW context management, Manatee was designed to co-ordinate health care applications regardless of their vendor, technology platform or underlying data structures.

Manatee enables the clinicians to access data in the context which is most meaningful for them. In the "patient" context, for example, a patient's record can be selected in any of the CCOW-compliant clinical applications on the desktop and Manatee automatically synchronises all other CCOW applications to that patient.

Manatee can further synchronise the applications to display data related to a specific patient encounter. This enables care providers to access patient data from a variety of applications seamlessly. In the "user" context, Manatee allows designation of one application for single sign-on. When that application employs strong user authentication, network security is increased.

Manatee works with affinitex' VeriMe secure network access product to offer secure context aware computing. VeriMe, which uses biometrics and cryptography to confirm identity of users and is a CCOW-compliant application, can be used for secure single sign-on to all CCOW compliant-applications to which a user has authorised access.

When a user wearing the VeriMe personal authenticator leaves a network access point and is no longer detected via infrared communication, the last context used is saved on the network. The next time the user's VeriMe is used for single sign-on the saved context can be automatically restored. This greatly enhances the productivity of the mobile health care worker, who typically works in "start/stop" work flow mode.

VeriMe offers care providers convenient, secure access to patient data from any network access point in the unit, providing data at the point of care. VeriMe ensures that users access only information they are authorised to see and provides automatic log-off, essential components of compliance with the forthcoming HIPAA privacy legislation in the United States.

VeriMe is used to strongly confirm the identity of a user accessing a network. A personal wireless device enables secure system log-on and auto log-off, single sign-on to multiple network applications, and digital signing of documents. A biometric, namely a fingerprint, is used to bind the device strongly to its registered user, and a cryptographic private key is used to strongly authenticate the device to the network.

The biometric template and private key are generated and stored only onboard VeriMe to assure the privacy of the user. Access policy, determining what information an authorised user can see once logged on, is governed by VeriMe's network-based Security Manager software.

"The way in which mobile health care workers access data is very different from what happens in most other workplace network environments", stated Bernie Ashe, AiT President and CEO. "The feedback gained from users in our first two pilot projects has enabled us to adapt VeriMe's functionality specifically for the unique needs of care providers in hospitals."

The first version of the VeriMe authenticator was launched at the 2001 HIMSS Conference and was piloted by health care organisations in the United States during 2001. Version 2 of the authenticator is smaller, lighter, and has a more secure architecture. It has more flexibility to meet the varied ergonomic requirements of different users and can also incorporate their employee ID badges.

The HL7 CCOW standard was created by an independent group of doctors and industry participants as a standard for integrating diverse clinical applications. Recognising the pain involved with integrating data, the standard instead focuses on co-ordinating applications at the desktop without back-end database integration.

affinitex was created as a division of AiT to address the need for secure access to electronic patient records. The target market for affinitex products are the largest United States hospitals, those with more than 300 beds. There are nearly 1000 such hospitals, employing more than 2.3 million health care workers requiring access to patient data.

Leslie Versweyveld

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