By Kirk Frady (MEDCOM Public Affairs)November 5, 2012
Beneficiaries of Army Medicine will soon be able to communicate online with their primary care provider through secure messaging. The US Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) is implementing the use of Army Medicine Secure Messaging Service (AMSMS) by offering it to 100 percent of beneficiaries who receive care in the "direct care" system by the end of 2014.
Secure messaging is a commercial, web-based, secure messaging platform, that provides a robust set of services designed to allow patients and their healthcare team to communicate securely at times and locations that are convenient. This secure platform works very much like an on-line secure banking web site.
According to Dr. Terry Newton M.D., Information Technology Clinical Capability Manager, "Army Medicine issued nearly 2,000 AMSMS licenses to healthcare providers at 48 military treatment facilities during Phase 1 in 2012." He added, "Over the next 24 to 36 months, we will complete deployment of over 5,000 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."
This secure messaging capability will, for the first time, provide patients the ability to communicate directly with their provider and care teams and allow care teams a two-way flow of communication with individual patients or groups of patients. If patients want to know whether or not their primary care provider is currently using the secure messaging system they should check with their assigned military treatment facility to find out.
Army Medicine's goal is to provide the secure messaging service to all beneficiaries who receive care in the direct care system by the end of 2014. In 2013, AMSMS will enter Phase 2 of this project. Delivery will be focused on any primary care facility that did not receive AMSMS in 2012. During Phase 2, secure messaging service delivery will also be expanded to specialty care such as Orthopedics, OB/GYN, etc.
When asked how the secure messaging system will benefit the patient, Dr. Newton explained, "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 went on to say, "Secure messaging is a critical tool in helping Army Medicine achieve the Quadruple AIM of; improving the patient's experience, improving population health and readiness while reducing per capita costs."
With online services from Army Medicine Secure Messaging Service (AMSMS), patients will be able to; book appointments, request and review lab/test results, request medication refills, request a referral, email their physician a question and schedule web visits with their provider. Additionally patients will have access to a fully integrated electronic personal health record and a robust set of multi-media educational content through the AMSMS.
To register for online services, beneficiaries should visit with their healthcare team administrator or call their primary care clinic for more details.