No matter how sophisticated the EMR that you may be using, logging in and logging out of the record system takes time and requires some discipline with respect to your password management processes. It is important to rotate passwords on a scheduled basis to ensure that access to the data is protected. However, passwords are just one mechanism to access your EMR. There are other tools that also allow authenticated access. For examples, biometric fingerprint readers. The following is an example http://www.zvetcobiometrics.com. The advantage of biometrics is the ability to use something that is unique to yourself - your fingerprint. As long as this is quick and accurate, it would be a simple task to lock your screen on exiting the exam room and login again by touching your finger to the biometric reader. However there have been recorded instances when a biometric reader has not recognized a user because of dirt on the scanner or reduced moisture on the surface of the finger.
A proximity card is an alternative mechanism to login to an EMR. These are devices that allow a user to be recognized simply by walking within a certain 'proximity' of a compatible computer. Each computer must also include a proximity card reader that is programmed to detect a specific card. The beauty of this option is the convenience of being able to walk up to a computer and have it recognize a physician as a user. Upon walking out of the exam room the computer screen would lock until it was next accessed by another authenticated user.
Are you aware of other options for login and authentication? Have you perhaps used a proximity card and reader or a biometric fingerprint reader in your practice or are aware of a colleague who is using one or more of these devices?
The ideal solution is one that provides both speed of access and protection of patient information in a way that allows the physician to practice most effectively.
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