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Hospitals and the Role of Direct Messaging

By Adrianna Iorillotwitter-direct-message

Introduction

In October 2012, direct messaging became a meaningful use initiative. Since then, hospitals have been migrating toward this idea of securing electronic messaging to communicate with patients on relevant health information. Secure messaging fills the space between generally siloed EHR data and connected partners that are part of their interoperability structure.

Pharmacies, labs, affiliated providers, government and private claim clearinghouses are some of the typical secure connections, but direct messaging allows the same encryption assurance to patients. This initiative has led to Health Information Service Providers (HISPs) or telecom resources that can provide secure, direct addresses and security certificates so hospitals can connect safely with patients and other care providers to receive and send data via a specialized network.

Key factors

Direct messaging can be a useful tool if it is integrated effectively into the physician’s normal workflow. Adding another routine or alert to an existing EHR requires training and integration to function properly. Undoing duplication of efforts can lead to non-compliance in EHR usage, so direct messages need to work within the workflow patterns, within the existing software and without creating the need for replicated data entries.

The meaningful use guidelines require that the system can provide a summary of care record and a patient’s medical file. A patient must be able to view, download or send both of these and have the direct messages and their actionable directions included.

If a health system is able to work these into the physician’s workflow and have that data included as discrete elements in the flow sheets, a health provider now has more vital data to review and assess for better care outcome decisions.

Current status

Although direct messaging hasn’t had the overwhelming adoption rate that was initially expected, the impact of more immediate data or data that may have gone unreported, can lead to more positive patient outcomes. An open dialogue and path for communications, like direct messaging, bridges a huge gap in quality of care for questions, compliance and reassessed treatment plans.

For more information on direct messaging, please contact Professional Services Team Member Adrianna Iorillo at aiorillo@thecsicompanies.com.

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