Army Medicine's secure healthcare messaging fielding near completion
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

SAN ANTONIO (March 31, 2014) -- Army Medicine is near completion in the implementation of its secure healthcare-messaging system, the Army Medicine Secure Messaging Service, to all 52 of its military treatment facilities worldwide.

As of March 1, more than 234,000 Army Medicine healthcare beneficiaries and almost 3,000 Army providers have signed up for this service, which allows the patient and provider to communicate on a secure network regarding non-urgent healthcare concerns.

The Army Medicine Secure Messaging Service, or AMSMS, network also allows beneficiaries to view their electronic personal healthcare record, request appointments, request medication refills or renewals, as well as allows providers to push important preventative care updates to their patients.

Overall, Soldiers, their families and beneficiaries using the AMSMS can expect a decrease in trips to military treatment facilities, known as MTFs, and more personal communication with their healthcare team.

What's happening with AMSMS at the MTFs?

"Army Medicine issued nearly 3,000 AMSMS licenses to healthcare providers during Phases I and Phase II in 2012 and 2013," explained Dr. Terry Newton, M.D., Information Technology Clinical Capability manager. "Over the next six months, we will complete deployment of over 1,000 additional licenses to primary and specialty care clinics. Similarly, the other branches of military service are also executing the same secure messaging capability across their treatment facility network."

Many MTFs have been using creative marketing ideas to inform their beneficiaries about the AMSMS and the many reasons why they should be using it. Clinics have been placing posters at facilities and updating their waiting room videos to include AMSMS information.

Although many MTF's AMSMS programs have not been up and running until recently, a few locations currently leading in participation are Fox Army Health Center at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.; Lyster Army Health Clinic at Fort Rucker, Ala.; Keller Army Community Hospital at West Point, N.Y.; and Dunham Army Health Clinic at Carlisle Barracks, Pa. Many of the practices have over 60 percent of their beneficiaries using the AMSMS.

"These MTFs have had the support of their leadership and are utilizing high-performing teams to make their practices more team-based and patient centered through the robust use of tools such as the AMSMS," said Newton.

How does AMSMS compare with others?

Although they use a different name for their secure messaging system, both the Air Force and Navy have made considerable progress signing up users. Both sister services have roughly 573,000 users now enrolled combined, as of March 1. This joint venture has more than 850,000 combined users through all services, as well as roughly 7,600 providers and more than 17,500 primary care team members using the system.

The civilian healthcare sector is also moving toward offering more patient portals since this service will assist their beneficiaries in making smarter non-urgent care decisions, rather than sitting in a waiting room or going to an urgent care facility.

"The AMSMS is an easy to use secure communication tool that has the potential to significantly impact care to beneficiaries by engaging them in convenient ways and times to build relationships, improve access to information and reduce the need for so many visits to their primary care clinic," Newton said. "Secure messaging is a critical tool in helping Army Medicine achieve the quadruple aim of improving the patients' experience, improving population health and readiness, while reducing per capita costs."

A recent secure messaging satisfaction survey demonstrated that 97 percent of over 12,000 survey respondents were satisfied with their secure messaging transaction, and more than 86 percent agreed it helped them avoid a trip to an emergency room or an MTF for a medical problem.

To find out more about AMSMS ask your healthcare team during your next visit.

Go here to view video about secure messaging:

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