The Clinician’s Knowledge Network (CKN, http://ckn.dotsec.com) is the Queensland Health (QH) clinical and research information service.
The CKN provides clinicians with direct access to the latest evidence-based information for point of care decision making, medical, nursing and health research, and ongoing professional development. Available resources include research databases, drug information, clinical resources, guidelines, eJournals and eBooks.
The motivation to design and develop the CKN was realised in 2007 when QH identified the need for a managed service that would allow clinicians to securely access thousands of on-line resources, hosted by hundreds of publishers around the globe. The service would allow clinicians to be able to access resources consistently from within the QH Intranet or from somewhere else on the Internet, while at the same time remaining affordable, usable, secure and robust.
The CKN was first deployed in 2008. On most weekdays, the CKN accepts between 1 and 2 million hits from users across the state including the 17-thousand registered users who access CKN from the wider Internet, and tens of thousands of QH-internal users who access CKN for via the QH Intranet.
Over the past five years, the CKN has continued to meet its core requirements:
- Affordability. The CKN was deployed as a very cost-effective solution, free from expensive hardware and software-licensing costs. In order to meet its budget requirements, the CKN needed to be developed on a very tight budget, and then maintained on a fixed-price schedule for at least 3 years.
Since its deployment, the CKN has been managed and maintained according to a fixed-price contract which accommodates ongoing support, maintenance and new-feature requests.
- Usability. The CKN is used by tens of thousands of clinicians who are not trained in the use of on-line services, and there is no budget for a dedicated, 24×7 help desk. Therefore, the CKN was designed to be intuitive and usable, while still remaining secure and robust.
The CKN’s Identity Management (IdM) infrastructure was developed for the same cost as a traditional password-management system. The IdM infrastructure includes a self-service identity/account-management interface that allows new users to register for the CKN, to verify their new identity, and to recover lost passwords in a secure manner. These self-service features help to ensure user satisfaction, while also helping to constrain the costs associated with user maintenance and support.
- Security and robustness. The CKN is built over a SAML, claims-based security infrastructure that allows easy integration with major third-party publishers and content providers such as the EBook Library, Ovid and OCLC WorldShare.
The CKN allows QH to meet its on-line publisher’s terms of service agreements by providing a reverse-proxy service that ensures that on-line resources are being used appropriately, by valid users, in a way that could be audited and reported.
The CKN is based on a distributed, redundant, extensible third-party infrastructure which has allowed it to maintain an uptime of approximately 99.97% since it was deployed. Rather than building the CKN over yet another closed authentication and account-management service, the CKN was built over a SAML, claims-based security infrastructure. This allows the CKN to be extended to include new content providers, without incurring additional software development costs.
DotSec and the QH Health Services and Clinical Innovation Division has maintained a close working relationship over the past five years, and the CKN has clearly met its business and technical requirements.
DotSec welcomes any enquiries on the CKN, and would be happy to help customers understand how a business-critical, on-line clinician’s service can meet business and technical requirements at very reasonable cost.