Acting Secretary Christy Quinlan this week participated in a panel discussion at the iHT2 Health IT Summit in San Francisco where she discussed the State’s progress in developing a secure, single sign-on for online services used by various professionals and the public.   Although the Golden State still has much to accomplish, we are moving forward in creating policies and infrastructure that will someday provide a way for Californians to securely go online using one process to authenticate a user, allowing for customized experience to do anything from renewing a driver’s license, applying for a nursing license, managing payroll taxes or accessing CalWORKS benefits.  Whether it is using biometrics, key identifiers or a simple username and password, once past the secure gates of an Identity and Access Management (IdAM) system, customers will have access to a highly complex and encrypted environment that allows them to conduct business according to their credentials.

In Health Information Technology (HIT), the development of a strong IdAM system is particularly important for doctors, clinicians and patients to utilize a system that offers the right combination of security and flexibility to create an effective tool for personal and public health.   Protecting patient health information is paramount.    Technology Agency staff is currently working with various HIT officials including the Cal eConnect and Health Information Exchange workgroups to ensure that core service solutions are in alignment with the federal government, other states and the private sector.

Agency staff has also been working with the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) to develop state-level standards, policies and technology.   This criteria, being developed by the State Identity, Credentialing, and Access Management (SICAM) workgroup, is based on a federated domain trust service which allows separate organizations to utilize a common, secure system to authenticate users.   Last December, the Agency issued the first statewide IdAM policy based on the in the SICAM Roadmap and Implementation Guidelines developed by NASCIO.

Consistent with California’s policy, some state departments are moving ahead with pilot programs that offer great promise.   Both the Department of Motor Vehicles and Employment Development Department currently have systems online that allows users to create an ID and navigate within their secure environment to do business.   The two departments together have more than 4 million registered users using IdAM systems that are highly secure and scalable.

California is making progress toward creating a holistic IdAM system that will be modern and efficient while at the same time protecting citizen privacy.