UW Health: Password Policy Update Coming May 4

If your work duties require logging into the UW Health network using UW Health-issued credentials, new UW Health password requirements are coming soon. SMPH and UW–Madison NetID passwords will not be affected by this change. Please read the details below provided by the UW Health Information Services team.


The healthcare industry is a desirable target for ransomware and other cyberattacks. Successful attacks can disrupt patient care and lead to the theft of medical records. This information can be sold on the underground market for a higher profit than social security numbers or passwords, thus making UW Health an attractive target to hackers. To protect you and the organization against cyberattacks, UW Health is strengthening user account security by updating the current password requirements in the UW Health Authentication and Password policy.


On May 4, 2022, the UW Health Authentication and Password policy will be updated with changes, as outlined below, for user accounts in the UW Health environment.

  • UW Health will be switching from requiring a minimum 8-character length password to a minimum 16-character length passphrase. A passphrase is an easy-to-remember group of words with no obvious connection.
  • Refer to the UW Health Password Policy Updates for more details on policy updates, FAQs, and specifics on passphrase requirements in preparation for this change.
  • Once the updated policy is in place, you will have 90 days from your last password change to create a 16+ character passphrase. After creating the passphrase, you will only be prompted to change your passphrase once per year (not quarterly!).
  • This update only applies to UW Health user accounts, not SMPH or UW–Madison (Net ID) user accounts.
  • The passphrase does not require an uppercase, lowercase, number, or special character for complexity; however, adding complexity will strengthen your passphrase. 

Take Action 

In preparation for this change, please reference the UW Health Password Policy Updates for more details on policy updates, FAQs, and specifics on passphrase requirements.

Do you work with patients? If the answer is yes, did you know you can use a badge to sign in to UW Health workstations equipped with a badge reader? You may be eligible to sign up for this feature. Click here for enrollment information.

For Questions

Please contact the UW Health Wisconsin IS Service Desk at (608) 265-7777