Redesigning Clinical Workflows to Return Joy to Patient Care
Hacking EHR Passwords
Hacking EHR Passwords

Do EHR passwords drive you to frustration? Have you figured out a good hack, or have you given up and gotten to the point that you don’t even notice them anymore?

I had the honor of speaking to the Large Urology Group Practice Association (LUGPA) this weekend, giving both a plenary session and 2 workshops. LUGPA is a great organization composed primarily of independent urology groups. I have great respect for them as they work to preserve private practice and proactively address key issues, assisting their member groups in dealing with the laws and regulations that inhibit the rational practice of medicine as well as proactively engaging with the move from volume to value.

These groups are successful. They know how to run a practice in a challenging environment. My hat is off to them.

What surprised me

While much of my talk addresses creating a management system and culture that changes practice for the better, in the workshops I also included a number of practical steps these urologists could implement quickly when they return to their practices next week. A few of them have to do with the EHR, including recommendations for EHR passwords.

When I asked for a show of hands regarding who was typing in their EHR passwords, about three quarters of the hands went up. I was frankly surprised. Here is a group of successful entrepreneurs who benefit greatly by making their practices as efficient as possible, and have the control to do so. Yet so many were missing out on a couple of easy fixes.

I’m sure they are not alone, and that too many physicians are wasting too many clicks, getting frustrated as they repeatedly enter their EHR passwords multiple times a day. Think about it. If your password has 8 digits, and you enter it on average twice per patient, seeing just 20 patients per day, you spend 320 clicks a day just on passwords. This is likely a gross underestimation as it relies on keeping password length to the minimum and efficiency to the max.

Hacking EHR Passwords

Here are two hacks:

  • Tap and Go RFID tags, a version of single sign on (SSO) – Technology to the rescue! You can get rid keyboarding passwords with this device. It consists of a sensor pad linked to a PC and an RFID chip on your name tag. You simply touch your name tag to the sensor pad and, voila, your computer opens up like magic. As you can imagine, this is a big win for busy physicians, nurses, and medical assistants when it’s introduced.
  • Design your password for efficiency – If you don’t have Tap and Go, design your keystrokes to be as easy as possible. Here are a few suggestions:
    • Use only your non-dominant hand – that way you don’t take your dominant hand off the mouse, removing unnecessary motion back and forth each time.
    • Make it quick, put combinations of keystrokes that are next to each other, such as a-s-d, and then go up or down by one row, so z-x-c might be next. you likely have to include a number and/or symbol, so stick to 1-2-3-4 and the symbols above those.
    • Change you password only when you have to, and by one character only, so you don’t lose much muscle memory.

How do you hack EHR Passwords?

These are my two suggestions. I bet you’ve got some good ones of your own. I know we’d all appreciate if you share them.

Go ahead, post yours in the comments. You’ll be doing us all a favor.



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