When asked how often she logs in and out of Epic each day, McKenzie Walker says one word comes to mind: nonstop.
As a medical practice assistant in the Orthopaedic and Arthritis Center in the Hale Building for Transformative Medicine, Walker uses the electronic medical record system to document a patient’s vital signs, height, weight, medications and more. Manually typing in her username and password dozens of times each day was burdensome and occasionally stressful, especially when the clinic was busy.
Last year, the center was selected to pilot a new system called Tap-N-Go, which offers the ability for Epic users to “tap” their hospital badge on a reader located at the workstation to log in and out of Epic on Epic Express devices.
The speed, ease and convenience of the system was life-changing, Walker said. Now, she can’t imagine going back.
“Tap-N-Go has allowed us to be a lot more effective by being able to deliver care more quickly and efficiently. It’s been a huge benefit for us,” she said. “We have it in all of our exam rooms and on the workstations on wheels, which has been super helpful on busy days. If a doctor is asking us a question about the patient outside the exam room, it’s easy for us to just tap and log on to get an answer right away.”
Developed by the Information Systems (IS) team, Tap-N-Go is now available across all Brigham sites and supported on more than 4,000 Epic Express devices. The system is expected to be deployed across all Mass General Brigham sites by the end of August — ultimately supporting about 40,000 Epic users and 13,000 Epic Express devices.
To ensure privacy and security, staff using Tap-N-Go need to manually enter their password when they first log in during a shift. After that, they can access Epic with just their badge for about 12 hours. Staff can log out of each session by tapping their badge again or clicking the yellow lock icon on their workstation.
The project was directly inspired by the results of a clinician well-being survey, which found that the frequency of logging in and out of clinical systems was contributing to frustration and burnout, said Jenni Theriault, director of Strategic Initiatives for Brigham Health IS.
“It’s been a really great project to work on. Everyone is excited when this solution shows up on their floors,” Theriault said.
Joe Hartigan, DPM, a podiatrist in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, has used Tap-N-Go for the past five months and has significantly improved his workflow as a provider.
“When you’re seeing a lot of patients, all those little tasks are onerous, even if it’s just 20 seconds during a visit,” said Hartigan, who practices at the main campus, Foxborough and BWFH. “There’s a repetitive monotony of having to retype your username and password so many times. Tap-N-Go is a game-changer in that regard and definitely helps with burnout. It makes our day infinitely better.”
Rolling out the system at the Brigham depended on a high degree of collaboration among multiple IS teams, including staff in Application Delivery, Device Engineering and the Brigham Health IS site team. The Brigham’s Nursing Informatics team was also an important partner in the project, Theriault said.
“This was one of those projects that, from an end user perspective, is very simple and straightforward. On the backend, though, it sits right in the middle of our infrastructure — interacting with operating systems, Citrix, Epic and more — so it required a lot of collaboration,” Theriault said. “We also worked closely with IS colleagues across the enterprise, so it was also a great demonstration of systemness.”