At no other time in the history of Army Medicine has communication between patient and provider been faster.
Through the use of Army Medicine’s Secure Messaging Service (SMS), Army providers can now address patients with matters that don’t need a face-to-face consultation.
Matilda Adusei and Lashon Graves, registered nurses with Medical Home 2 at Irwin Army Community Hospital, are able to help more patients using SMS.
“In the time it takes for a patient to come for an appointment to request a refill on blood pressure medication, we (as a medical team) could have helped about three other patients with SMS,” said Graves. “Secure Messaging can address about 20 to 40 percent of patient concerns. And when there is a shortage of providers, (the use of) SMS can free up more appointments for patients who really need to be seen in person.”
Patients who value their personal time can use SMS to ask their provider or medical team questions about their health, request prescription refills, or get lab and test results.
“Many requests or administrative matters can be taken care of much more efficiently with SMS,” said Adusei.
SMS workflow is so efficient that Adusei said it’s conceivable for a patient to send a request for a refill at 6 a.m., have it reviewed and authorized by a provider, and have the patient pick it up that afternoon. All without making an appointment and losing time from work, school or recreation. It’s all done electronically and securely.
SMS uses software specifically designed to meet the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The privacy rule requires safeguards for the communication of healthcare information. SMS is the Army Medical Department’s solution for HIPAA-compliant communication between patient and provider.
Providers and nurses still use phone calls to communicate but they are not authorized to leave voice messages. Nor can they send text messages or email to commercial accounts such as Gmail or Yahoo Mail. SMS removes the burden of “playing phone tag” yet capitalizes on the speed of electronic communication.
SMS integrates web and mobile features used in Gmail or Yahoo Mail. The difference is SMS protects a patient’s medical information.
To start messaging your medical team, visit https://app.relayhealth.com/ and register for an account. Give time back to your self.