The Objective is to use secure electronic messaging to communicate with patients on relevant health information. A secure message must be sent using the electronic messaging function of the provider’s CEHRT by more than 5 percent of unique patients seen by the eligible provider (EP) during the reporting period.
A Secure Message is defined as “Any electronic communication between a provider and patient that ensures only those parties can access the communication. This electronic message could be 1) email, 2) the electronic messaging function of a PHR, 3) an online patient portal, or 4) any other electronic means. An EP or staff member can follow-up with a telephone call or office visit if deemed more appropriate to address the concerns raised in the patient’s e-message. And don’t get too panicking just yet if you’re thinking what a lot of other providers are thinking, “Yikes! Email from patients?!”. . .There isn’t a requirement that the EP must personally respond to electronic messages to the patient. Designated office staff can manage the email under the supervision of the physician.
As Quillen ETSU Physicians prepares to meet the requirements of this measure and to comply with the HIPPA Security Rule, we have started the process of registering our users in the Direct Project. If you’ve been asked to send us your driver’s license and ETSU ID, then you’re on your way to being registered. The Direct Project offers providers a secure way to send protected health information, including clinical summaries, continuity of care documents (CCDs), and laboratory results, to other providers who also have a Direct address. Presently, we are participating in the most basic implementation of the Direct Project, a secure email system via an email client, which works just like regular email, but with an added level of security required to transport sensitive health information.
Over the next few weeks, some of our users will be receiving an email much like the one you see below. Once you receive it, you’ll be asked in another email by the EHR administrator to forward it to her. She’ll be providing you with additional information for using it later.
Admittedly, there are many changes going on in healthcare right now, which may have you feeling overwhelmed. But, what I keep reminding myself—as I try to muddle through and stay current in serving our users—is that these changes are being implemented for improved quality of patient care and, eventually, to make providing that care to our patients more convenient for everyone.
It wasn’t too long ago that we all heard the chime, “You’ve got mail!” as we logged into our AOL accounts through our dial-up modems (can you remember how slow that connection was?). Now we are blazing across the internet on our smart phones and tablets, with instant access to almost any information we need, including patient health records.
Healthcare technology’s day will soon arrive and all of the changes that are being implemented now will seem routine and outdated as we continue to move forward. Rather than having to leave voicemails, send faxes, call the pharmacy again and again, or wait on a patient’s return call, wait on a fax, or wait on the pharmacy to call you back, the exchange of secure information will be at your fingertips and as fast as you can say, “You’ve Got Secure Mail.”