Improving the Digital Experience — Starting with The Sign-In

Brad Crotty MD MPH
Inception Health
Published in
4 min readFeb 22, 2021

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In March, we will be launching our new login and identity experience for patients signing into their portal and applications at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.

In this post, we will share a bit about *what* patients will experience moving forward, and importantly, *why* we are making these changes.

Our new login experience

We are implementing a new universal login experience for our patients that will work across our digital experiences … from our mobile application to our patient portal, and will set the foundation to use the same login across all future digital health experiences that are part of their care at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Early mock-up of the new login experience

Patients who already have our new mobile application are already good to go, and they will login with their email address and password that they use to sign into their Froedtert & MCW mobile application.

Patients who don’t yet have our mobile application but who DO have an existing MyChart account can convert their account to a new Froedtert & MCW account. Patients will then start using their email address as their username and will need to create a new password.

Lastly, patients who do not yet have either a Froedtert & MCW account or a MyChart account can create a new account on the fly.

Enhancing Security, Preserving Usability

We are working to strike a balance between best practices for security and usability. We know that tools such as multifactor authentication and strong password requirements will improve the security of our patients’ accounts. We also know that they add friction, particularly for those who are older and less comfortable with computers. We will enable patients to “opt-in” to MFA. Our identity platform will also enable advanced security testing, such as pattern recognition when logins are coming from new locations or devices.

Why?

We have historically used the electronic health record as our patient identity management solutions. And this has inherent advantages and is integrated into our enterprise software. We are, however, now experiencing some of the drawbacks as we push forward into the digital realm. Our patients have multiple logins for our digital applications. Further, as we partner with more digital solutions, each of these will have their own set of logins and experiences.

We knew that we needed to move to a single login for our mobile application and the patient portal that powers it. But we also looked at additional opportunities to improve the experience and set a strong foundation for our digital growth over time.

By implementing a single identity platform, we will be able to get to a more desired state where patients can use a universal login across various digital experiences that we create.

How

We are following agile processes which is helping us to accelerate our work and respond to the unknowns that arise in the work in a timely fashion. We have pulled together a core project team of our identity partners, health information management, IT security, and clinical operations.

We are building our identity management solution to sync with our identity in the electronic health record, thereby enabling our HIM staff to continue using tools that they are comfortable with, and decreasing the need to learn new tools. Our System for Cross-Domain Identity Management (SCIM) lives in our AWS cloud where it can manage identity across our applications.

Conclusion

Managing the identity layer for patients presents new challenges of synchronization and also with introducing friction of requiring people to update their accounts, select new passwords, and see a new user interface.

That being said, we do believe that this is a required path we must follow. As we knit together more and more digital experiences that are part of the overall care process, we must have a seamless way for patients to connect with various applications without needing to create new usernames and passwords. We also must follow the best practices for identity management, security, and authentication.

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Brad Crotty MD MPH
Inception Health

Chief Medical Officer, Inception Health | Chief Digital Engagement Officer, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Health Network