Is your EMR setting you up for Secure Messaging success?

Most EMRs today have a secure text messaging component as part of their offering. The thought of having everything in one suite of products may seem appealing. But in reality, few EMR secure messaging applications actually meet the functional requirements and user preferences of today’s physicians.

If your physicians and providers aren’t willing to use the secure messaging EMR then you might as well not have it.

This is the first blog post in a multi-part series to help you determine if an EMR secure messaging solution is the right fit for your organization and physicians.
If you are thinking about using your current or future EMR for secure messaging, here are a few things that should be considered:

Communicating beyond hospital integrated providers

Let’s start with the fact that the EMR messaging solution is typically limited to care providers within the same EMR system. What about the providers outside your EMR system such as private practice physicians with their own practice based EMR?

While outpatient messaging volume may be less than 20% of total message volume, this area actually has the greatest potential to impact patient experience and collaborative patient management. This is particularly true when trying to manage care transitions across the continuum. Furthermore, by engaging your entire care community, you increase referrals and decrease leakage from your network. To truly have a successful secure messaging strategy, you must include providers and care teams across the entire healthcare continuum, not just with integrated providers.

Does your EMR messaging application do the following?

  • Allow for broad distribution to outpatient-based physicians, including locally based private practice and regional referring doctors without running afoul of anti-kickback laws.
  • Allow practice call schedules to be viewed in system?
  • Provide information about patients who are being directed to an Urgent Care/Emergency.

Reaching the right people at the right time

Service lines have varied workflows that can utilize different team members (i.e. residents, APP, fellows, attendings, etc) at different times of the day depending on the type of message, as well as the availability of personnel. Each service line has their own “rules” about which resource should receive messages when. This often can change multiple times during one 24-hour period. For example, within the Urology service the APP might receive all ED consults until 5:00 pm, at which point message routing will switch to the Urology resident, then after 10 pm it might switch again to the on-call attending. This change in message routing rules occurs more often now due to residency work hour restrictions.

Does your EMR messaging application route messages based on the following?

  • Patient’s location (in hospital? In ED? In physician office?)
  • Patient/provider history (Established patient vs. new consults)
  • Service line ‘rules’ established workflows, hierarchies and call schedules

Giving physicians more control

Physicians are one of your most valuable resources. Keeping them satisfied and preventing burnout is critical to their productivity and longevity within your organization. Many physicians already struggle with being too available to their colleagues and patients. Your secure messaging solution has to not only fit within their existing workflow, but is it must offset any concerns your physicians have about making themselves even more accessible.

Does your EMR messaging application allow your physicians to do the following?

  • Easily control when others can reach them without signing in/signing out at every transition.
  • Automatically limit access, based on call schedules
  • Assign a staff proxy to check their messages WITHOUT accessing the their personal phone or asking for their EMR password.
  • To transfer their on-call status to someone else from a mobile app (virtual “hold my pager.”)

These are just a few of things you should consider when evaluating solutions to ensure they meet all of your functional and user requirements. To learn more about how your EMR secure messaging solution measure up, see our complete checklist for Mobile Communication System Success or schedule a time to speak with someone who can help guide you through that process.