Direct messaging in healthcare has become a new and popular trend that has evolved and grown recently. No matter your specialty, there are times when you must interact with other healthcare providers and practices in order to provide the top-quality care your patients expect. The vision of direct messaging through an EHR software is to provide a secure network where all participants are verified and can securely communicate. This connectivity will empower doctors and patients to better communicate with each other. 

What is Direct Messaging?undefined

Direct messaging is a secure way for healthcare providers and organizations to send clinical messages and exchange Protected Health Information (PHI). Providers and organizations can send secure electronic messages to each other, including attachments such as Continuity of Care Documents (CCD), referral documents, X-rays, and other types of important medical information and files. Direct messaging is specifically designed for the exchange of patient health information across different EHR networks. It can be used to promote care coordination between visits, address patient concerns, monitor a patient’s condition, take care of routine health issues, and help patients better manage their overall health. Direct messaging works towards eliminating outdated communication methods such as phone calls, faxing, or standard mail and consistently keeps your patients' data secure. Along with all of this, direct messaging is HIPAA compliant and mitigates these inherent risks of information being compromised by providing an easier way for healthcare providers to securely share patient information electronically.

Understanding and Utilizing the Benefits of Direct Messaging with EHR Software

Security

Faxes and envelopes could fall into the wrong hands. And, if patient health information is leaked it can lead to a major disaster for your practice. The greatest advantage to integrating a direct messaging strategy into your communication process is the security of knowing your patients' private medical information is secure through encrypted messages and safe-locked files. Electronic transfer of patient information between ODs and other providers securely exchanges information with both trusted sources, conveying the confidence EHR users and creators have with exchanging medical information online. The security and reliability of direct messaging with EHR software will lead to more widespread and unprejudiced communication. 

Increased Workflow

When a patient’s information is sent by mail or fax, it still must be manually entered into the provider’s EHR system, ultimately hindering the workflow and efficiency of a practice. Direct messaging helps your practice, and employees, minimize the opportunity for third parties calling on the phone asking for patient information, essentially causing your employees to constantly multitask and over time slowly waste unnecessary time and money. Giving your practice the ability to send information electronically, reduces the workload for yourself and your employees. Providers can now spend more time with their in-office appointments, increasing customer satisfaction and retention. Replacing outdated communication methods, like fax and phone, will save your practice time and help to improve your practice's overall workflow.

Precision and Accuracy

Direct messaging ensures that clear, correct, and complete information will reach it's intended recipient and proper location. Using direct messaging electronically allows the EHR system to check and double-check the documents and information for any problems or errors. When exchanging PHI, legibility issues due to faxing or handwriting is just one reason why direct online messaging is helpful for healthcare providers. Direct messaging sends information electronically, and instantly, helping your information and reports to be more precise without having to worry about human-error.

Money, Money, Money

Time is money, and with direct messaging you can gain back valuable time that was lost during the communications process. In addition to the time saved with direct messaging, practices can also save money by not having to unnecessarily pay for faxing or postage. Furthermore, with the consistently increasing importance of communication between practices that direct messaging provides, any duplicate information, procedures, and tests can be recognized and avoided, saving your practice money.

Meaningful Use Stage 2

A huge benefit (and a main factor in the growth of direct messaging) is that using direct messaging meets Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements. Stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs include several objectives that require information to be shared with another party.  Check out this document from the CMS to read more about this objective! But, regardless of whether you are participating in Meaningful Use, taking advantage of direct messaging will help keep your practice modern and competitive with other healthcare providers in your community.