Why Direct Messaging isn’t meeting all of your healthcare secure messaging needs

After talking to so many healthcare organizations about secure messaging, we have learned that the term “secure messaging” means different things to different people, creating a lot of confusion and even misunderstandings. In some cases, the first thing people think of is “Direct Messaging” and they incorrectly assume their secure messaging needs have been met if they already have that in place.

Direct Messaging is a national encryption standard for securely exchanging clinical healthcare data via the Internet.  It is just like email, but with an added layer of security and trust-in-identity operating behind the scenes.  If you have an email address, you know how to use Direct. The sender and receiver must have a Direct email address in order to exchange information via Direct.

Over the last few years, as more healthcare providers began using their mobile devices to communicate, secure messaging has evolved to mean secure texting. Secure texting allows providers to send encrypted Protected Health Information (PHI) from a desktop computer or mobile device. It is a quick and safe way to communicate with a care team about patient care. Like Direct, secure texting platforms should allow you to communicate outside your organization.

Direct and inbox messaging work well for non-urgent patient information. It is an easy and secure way to communicate if that is all you want to do.

For the urgent message, however, secure texting is more efficient. It can quickly facilitate patient care between providers and care teams. With secure texting, the message can be sent/received outside the health system and the EHR. The messages are received immediately via a mobile app or any web-enabled device.

Others believe their EHR system’s inbox capabilities meet their secure messaging needs. While this can be a secure way to communicate, it is limited to care providers within the same system. As long as a user is on the same instance of the EHR, they can communicate using the inbox feature. What about the providers outside that EHR system? To truly have a successful secure messaging strategy, you must include providers and care teams across the entire healthcare continuum, not just within the hospital walls.

It’s important that secure messaging within your organization fits well into your clinician workflows and includes both inpatient and outpatient communication.

Our solution (RapidConnect) has been specifically designed to streamline urgent clinician-focused workflows, helping providers securely connect and collaborate across the entire healthcare continuum. RapidConnect also integrates with a hospital’s (or practice’s) existing technologies, including leading EMR/EHR solutions and call schedule management solutions. All of this leads to widespread user adoption, better resource utilization and ultimately better patient care.

Please contact me at rhonda.dowdy@mdinterconnect.com to get more information or to schedule a demo.

RapidConnect Helps Hospital Regain Key Cardiac Accreditation

WakeMed takes great pride in delivering world-class cardiovascular care, and has been recognized for doing just that over the years. Its Raleigh campus was the first hospital in the nation to achieve the American College of Cardiology Heart Failure Accreditation’s highest level of heart failure accreditation. In 2015, the hospital was also one of only 319 hospitals nationwide to receive the American College of Cardiology’s NCDR ACTION Registry–GWTG Platinum Performance Achievement Award.

However, in 2016 WakeMed was at risk of losing its American College of Cardiology (ACC) Heart Failure Accreditation after not meeting the ACC’s goal of having 75% of heart failure patients scheduled for a follow up visit within 7 days of a hospital discharge. Initially, WakeMed trained Advance Practice Providers (APPs) to use Epic’s Cadence module to schedule those appointments, but fell short of the 75% target. The biggest gap seemed to come with patients admitted to non-cardiology services and for patients discharged after hours and on weekends. Those patients were leaving the hospital before a follow-up appointment could be scheduled and/or added to their discharge papers.

They consulted with MD Interconnect after learning of the platform’s integration with Epic. Thanks to that collaboration, an automatic message is now sent through RapidConnect when heart failure discharge orders are created in Epic. That message is routed, in real-time, to someone who can schedule a follow-up appointment before the patient is discharged. The average RapidConnect read time for these discharge order messages is now 13 minutes. The heart failure follow-up appointment is quickly scheduled and that information is included on the patient’s discharge summary.

This new RapidConnect order discharge workflow went live in November of 2017. For the first time ever, WakeMed exceeded the ACC goal with a 85.9% appointment follow-up rate by the end of that month. With help from RapidConnect, they regained their accreditation and received a Silver Plus AHA award for that year.

To learn more about how RapidConnect is helping WakeMed increase the number of cardiac follow-up visits, see the complete use case here.

To learn more about how RapidConnect can help you, contact us.

Better Communication Helps Children’s Hospitals Respond to Unique Competitive Challenges

Children's hospitals are facing increased competition as health systems and community hospitals expand their pediatric services. As a result, children’s hospitals are seeking new and strategic ways to expand their presence and facilitate growth.

One strategy is partnering with local and regional facilities that don’t have the infrastructure or expertise to treat pediatric patients that require specialized care. This may be in the form of dedicated hospitalists, neonatologists, intensivists, and rotational clinics of selected pediatric sub-specialties at the community hospitals. By making their physicians, staff and expertise more accessible to community-based hospitals and physicians patients can receive pediatric services for low-acuity, short-stay visits closer to home and patients needing a higher level of care can be identified and transported appropriately.

According to the Children's Hospital Association, most dedicated children's hospitals are the sole regional providers for highly specialized services such as cardiac surgery and transplants, and they offer more than six times the number of services as general hospitals.

As a result, children’s hospitals are realizing that provider-to-provider communication outside their four walls is more important than ever before.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie’s Children’s Hospital of Chicago took a proactive approach to addressing communication challenges. Last year, the hospital served more than 198,000 children from 50 states and 51 countries. But, communication between referring physicians and Lurie Children’s specialists was often challenging because there were too many varied ways to reach specialists, and because PCPs did not always know which specialist to contact.

The hospital along with its clinically integrated network the Lurie Children’s Health Partners (LCHPCIN) chose to implement RapidConnect to facilitate better communication and coordination of care for Chicago’s pediatric patients. Implementing this solution would improve patient care and optimize resource utilization.

“As a NICU hospitalist, RapidConnect is a huge time saver. Now I can skip the operators and answering services and directly reach our outpatient pediatricians via voice or text in a HIPAA-compliant manner,” said Patrick Lyons, MD, Hospital Based Medicine, Lurie Children’s.


With help from RapidConnect, LCHPCIN specialists and primary care physicians can better coordinate consults, share results, communicate patient information, process admissions and more.

In the eleven months since the RapidConnect implementation, 2.600 messages have been sent which includes communication from 34 PCP practices and 28 divisions at Lurie Children’s. Response time is less than 3 minutes for 50 percent of messages

Currently, the system is connecting more than 155 community pediatric partners to Lurie Children’s CIN, with 28 hospital divisions participating. Adoption of Rapid Connect usage continues to increase as new divisions and practices come on board.


To learn more about how RapidConnect is helping Lurie Children’s, see the complete use case here.

To learn more about how RapidConnect, click here.