Patients Save Time with Secure Messaging

At no other time in the history of Army Medicine has communication between patient and provider been faster.

Matilda Adusei and Lashon Graves are registered nurses with Medical Home 2 at Irwin Army Community Hospital. Through Secure Messaging Service they address about five to 10 patient requests a day.
Matilda Adusei and Lashon Graves are registered nurses with Medical Home 2 at Irwin Army Community Hospital. Through Secure Messaging Service they address about five to 10 patient requests a day.

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.

Midwife Kyanna Kuntz, in her own words…

“I’m from Overland Park, Kan., originally. I believe women should be treated with respect and dignity at all times but especially during sensitive exams including pelvic and well woman exams. After a bad experience myself, I decided women deserve better which led me on my journey to care for women. I chose the profession of midwifery because I was drawn to the care that midwives provide, which is individualized, encompasses the whole woman and not just her medical diagnosis, and supporting women during birth which is the most genuine and vulnerable time in a woman’s life.”Kyanna

“I became a Certified Nurse-Midwife in 2004 after obtaining my Master of Science Degree in Nursing from the University of Kansas. I have worked at a birthing center and in the hospital setting. I provided full scope midwifery care at Geary Community Hospital from 2005-2007. I joined the Irwin Army Community Hospital team in 2007.”

“At IACH, women may receive care from a Certified Nurse-Midwife or an Obstetrician during their prenatal care and birth of their child. I feel that our team of Midwives and Physicians provide comprehensive, quality maternity care. Unlike other facilities I have worked, my physician colleagues embrace natural birth and do not practice unnecessary inductions of labor, routine episiotomies or unnecessary cesarean section deliveries. Promoting normal physiologic birth is the cornerstone of Nurse-Midwifery care. The Midwives at IACH are a great option for women for low risk pregnancies and labor & birth. We are well supported by our physicians when a women’s care becomes high risk. Our goal is to support all women so that they may have a wonderful birth experience and a healthy newborn.”

Midwife LTC Amanda Forristal, in her own words…

“I am from Rock Creek, Ohio. I enjoy promoting health and being a midwife allows me to do that. At the time I was the Head Nurse of an ambulatory surgical unit and very administrative, I missed bedside nursing. In order to continue to advance as an ANC officer, I needed to obtain a Master’s LTC Forristaldegree so I decided to become a Midwife to stay connected with patients and to promote wellness.”

“I have been a midwife for the Army since 2006, stationed at Ft Hood for four years then Ft Stewart for three years before coming here in 2013 to be the Chief of Nursing Operations and later the DCNPS. I continue to try to keep a clinic for half a day every other week or so.”

“In my experience, it is not so much about midwifery being a choice for a mother-to-be, but the influence of midwifery care on an obstetric practice. As midwives we are taught to listen to women and to be with them. It is about providing all options available to the woman throughout her lifespan as it relates to her health and wellness so that she can make an informed decision that is best for her.”

Midwife Jessica Kramer, in her own words…

“I grew up in Martinsville, Va. I moved to Kansas in 2001 and have been here ever since.”Jessica Kramer

“I have always been interested in women’s health and the birth process, it always fascinated me and my interest grew from there. I began my nursing career as a certified nurse aide and worked my up to a registered nurse then a midwife. While an RN, I focused mainly on labor and delivery and just fell in love with the birth process and began to have an increased interest in furthering my education to provide care to women in my community. I knew that being an OB/GYN was not for me and midwifery just seem to fit.”

“I graduated from KU in May 2013 and spent 2014-2015 in Kansas City at Shawnee Mission Health as the first midwife ever hired by their facility. I was a student here at IACH in 2012-2013 and when the opportunity for a midwife position opened, I applied. I have been here since March 2015.”

“Midwife means ‘with woman’ and we are considered experts in normal pregnancy and birth. We view pregnancy and birth as a normal physiologic process that needs little interference from the outside world. We also love to educate, support, teach, and empower women to have the birth experience they desire. We have the heart of a nurse and I tend to nuture our patients throughout pregnancy and labor; laughing, crying, being a shoulder to lean on or just someone to talk to when women need it most.”

Midwife Sally Prickett, in her own words…

“I grew up in West NSally Prickettewton, Mass. Met my loving and supportive husband while we were both stationed at Ft Leavenworth. We had three wonderful boys that have grown up to be wonderful persons in their own right. We followed him through out his 25 years of service from duty station to duty station.”

“While living near Naples, Italy, in the mid 1970s, I kept hearing the praises about the midwife at the Navy hospital from my friends and neighbors. So being a nurse midwife became my long term goal. While in Italy, I obtained my AA through Maryland University. Moved to Ft Riley in 1977 and obtained my BSN from Marymount University in Salina in 1980 while my husband was stationed in Korea.”

“I worked at Geary Community Hospital OB ward from 1980 to 1987. I then got the opportunity to work at Irwin Army Community Hospital Labor and Delivery ward the summer of 1987. I met an Army midwife and really liked her approach with women in labor. We had several conversations about midwifery and suggested I investigate the program of Frontier School of Nursing and Midwifery in Hyden, Ky. I was able to do my didactic work at home. I graduated from Frontier and passed my National Certifying Exam in 1996 which was when I became a certified-nurse midwife (CNM).”

“My first job as a CNM was in Beaver Dam, Ky., for two years. I came back to IACH in 2002 with two years experience and was the first civilian CNM in probably three decades. I retired in 2011 after 28 years of government service. I have been working on Labor and Delivery as a volunteer CNM two to three days a month. I love supporting women as they bring their precious newborns into the world. The emotions of everyone in the room are running high.   What a natural high!!!”

“A midwife, be it a male or a female, believes that pregnancy and childbirth are a normal function of a woman’s body. A midwife works to empower the woman. At each visit we talk about the normal changes of their bodies that are likely to occur over the next several weeks, discussing and encouraging healthy choices in eating and exercising. We encourage women to ask questions and to write them out if necessary. We get to know the women and their families and they get to know us.”

Midwife Mary Ellen Raymond, in her words…

“I’m a New YoMary Ellen Raymondrk native, but my husband and I just retired to Leavenworth Kansas.”

“I decided to become a midwife after working for many years as a labor and delivery nurse. I wanted to know these moms as a person before they came in to the hospital in labor. Women are very different in labor then they are normally.”

“I became a nurse-midwife in 2006 and started working as at IACH in 2008. I worked first as an Army nurse and then as a DoD registered nurse. I now have over 20 years of service to the Army.”

“Midwife means ‘with women’ and I believe that this is our role—to help women through all stages of their lives.”

Midwife Raquel Johnson, in her words…

Raquel Johnson“The place I lived the longest was San Diego.”

“When my oldest daughter was giving birth, I was there and didn’t like the way things were happening during her labor. Since my youngest daughter was in pre-school I decided I would go to school so I could help women have babies. My original plan was to be an OB/GYN, but my advisor told me about a midwifery program and I wanted to do that instead.”

“I started my midwifery career in 2006. I came to IACH in June of this year. This is my first experience with the Army. I had been around the Navy for most of my life. My father was in the Navy and I was in the Navy Reserves.”

“The definition of midwife is with women. We are very much ‘with women.’ We view labor and childbirth as a normal body function. Most midwives are women and have given birth themselves so they can empathize with their clients. There are very good male midwives, too, though. Midwives usually serve an underserved population. We get the opportunity to laugh, cry, and bond with our clients. We love to teach and empower women, and encourage healthy choices and behavior for themselves and their families.”