When we think about healthcare, hospitals, physicians, and nurses are probably the first things that pop into our minds. These caregivers are essential in managing annual check ups, visits to the Emergency Room, and the occasional x-ray. Direct care practitioners and facilities are the front lines for patient care, and they play a primary role in the overall health of the population they serve.

However, there is another important player in the patient care experience that is often overlooked: health insurance providers. These organizations are charged with monitoring the overall health and care of their customers. They help build relationships between caregivers and their patients, and they foster continuity of care within the healthcare ecosystems they serve. The role of the health insurance provider has evolved significantly over the last few years, not only in the way treatments and care plans are coordinated between provider and payer, but also in customers’ overall experience ratings as they make their way through the complex and oftentimes stressful environment.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island is one such organization, and I was lucky enough to spend some time with Derek Costa, the CIO, to discuss the ever-changing landscape there. I learned how he and his organization are leveraging technology initiatives to help drive improved care, decrease costs, and implement operational efficiencies for both the members and the providers that care for them.

Our mission is ‘to improve members’ health and peace of mind by facilitating access to affordable, high quality healthcare.’ — Derek Costa

As with any CIO, Derek views the key to success as aligning IT with the organization’s strategic vision and operational needs. That means understanding the requirements of all the parties involved (organizational, provider, member) and it takes significant planning, as well as nimble, flexible, and reliable technology that can adapt to the ever-changing insurance landscape and business requirements. All the while, it’s also crucial to securely deliver patient health information (PHI) and create a  user friendly environment..

Sounds pretty simple, right??

Like thousands of other providers/payers across the globe, BC/BS of RI leverages the Citrix technology platform to handle some of the more complex scenarios within its environment.

Citrix stands at the forefront of our global delivery model. Whether users are accessing our core applications in the corporate office or at one of our remote locations, the delivery is fast, secure and reliable. — Derek Costa

Application virtualization has changed the way our organizations operate, so no longer are the users tied to a physical location, to offices, or even to countries. BC/BS of RI can securely deliver simple access to its mission critical applications and data to any user, on any device, over any network.

Access to the resources an end user needs is a key factor that drives operational effectiveness. With that in mind, I asked Derek how Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island can can seamlessly deliver only the specific content that its diverse user population needs.

Identity management is a fundamental part of our security program, and Citrix plays a major role. Whether it is the provisioning of virtual desktops/applications,  the integration with our multi-factor authentication suite, or directory services, Citrix helps tie all of it together. — Derek Costa

This environmental virtualization, partner integration, and granular control of the who, what, and where of data and application access, is just a piece of what we at Citrix believe security should be.

As Kurt Roemer, Citrix chief security strategist states, “Gone are the days of the all access pass to systems!”

Purpose-driven access, and the organizational understanding of what data, and which application access each user requires will drive better security practices, and deliver a secure and customizable user environment.

At Citrix, security is built into the fabric of every solution we offer — not only in our own code, but in the relationships we build and cultivate with our partners. This interoperability is key for our customers, and delivers value-added benefits across their entire security portfolios. Whether it is an SSO (Single Sign-on) solution for user experience, multi-factor authentication for increased security, or SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) for audit and control, Citrix understands that security is an ecosystem, and one in which we must collaborate with other partners to deliver the best solutions our customers needs.

I would like to personally thank Derek Costa of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island for taking the time to share his thoughts, and for giving us a little peek into his world.

For more information about Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island

Read more security topics from Kurt Roemer here

Follow Citrix Solutions for Healthcare on Twitter.

Follow Christian Boucher (that’s me!) on Twitter.

 *If you are in the healthcare industry, we invite you to begin a dialogue with us. You can share your thoughts on the topics in this blog or any other healthcare IT issue with a Citrix researcher by clicking here.