HONOLULU (April 13, 2012) -- Patients at Pacific Regional Medical Command primary care clinics have a new way to keep in touch with their health care team.

Long gone are the days where you had to wait on hold to talk to a health care professional, or schedule an appointment to ask your doctor a question. Army Medicine's Secure Messaging System, powered by RelayHealth, brings your health care team to you, wherever you are, any time of day, allowing you to safely send a message to your doctor or nurse from the comfort and privacy of your own home.

With RelayHealth, patients can contact their primary care clinic to request prescription renewals, receive test and laboratory results, request appointments and referrals, get guidance from your medical team by email, consult with your medical team regarding non-urgent health matters, avoid unnecessary office visits and telephone calls, and access valuable health information online.

"Our patients feel they have an increased level of access to (doctors and nurses)," explained Dr. John Marshall, Internal Medicine Clinic, Tripler Army Medical Center. "They don't have to wait for a certain clinic or office to open in order to call, or wait on hold when they do call; they can send us a message in the middle of the night."

The new system isn't only benefiting patients. RelayHealth makes communication more efficient for doctors and nurses.

"What I find most beneficial about [RelayHealth] is that I don't have to play phone tag with patients," Marshall said. "Sometimes I just want to tell a patient what their lab results were, but I won't want to leave a voicemail. This way I can take the time to send one message and I know the patient will get it.

"Our nurses spent a considerable amount of time on the phone each day, answering patients' questions," Marshall continued. "In theory, if a patient is using RelayHealth to send in their questions or request a referral or appointment, they're not calling in, and the nurses can then spend that time with a patient."

The Army began implementing RelayHealth in its medical treatment facilities across the globe in 2011 and currently, every region has at least one clinic already using the system.

RelayHealth is already in place at several PRMC primary care clinics to include the Internal Medicine and the Warrior Ohana Medical Home in Kapolei. Tripler's Family Medicine clinic has started the roll-out with a few providers initially. The Pediatric clinics and the U.S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks' Aviation Medicine, Family Practice, Pediatric and Troop Medical clinics are expected to complete the roll out of the system by early August.

In just a few short months, every Army primary care clinic in the Pacific will have RelayHealth fully implemented.

The Brian Allgood Army Community Hospital, Seoul, Korea; and Korea's USAHC-Camp Casey, USAHC-Camp Humphreys, USAHC-Camp Walker, and USAHC-Yongsan along with Japan's BG Crawford F. Sams U.S. Army Health Clinic are scheduled to begin implementing RelayHealth in the near future.

RelayHealth is a completely secure portal that is compliant with the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. Encryption technology and a stringent privacy policy protect patient personal information more securely than either the telephone or regular email. Patient information is only accessible by patients and their health care team.