Secure Provider-to-Provider Communication With Electronic Health Record Messaging: An Educational Outreach Study

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Abstract

Introduction:

With increasing electronic health record (EHR) use, providers are talking less with one another. Now, many rely on EHRs, informal emails, or texts, introducing fragmentation and new data security challenges with new communication strategies. We aimed to examine the impact of a physician champion educational outreach intervention to promote electronic provider-to-provider communication in a large academic multispecialty group.

Methods:

Physician champions provided educational outreach to 16 academic departments, using 10-minute case-based presentations. Online surveys assessed communication preferences and practices. Electronic health record queries counted EHR messaging use before and after intervention. Descriptive statistics compared responses by specialty (z-test). Paired responses with pre–post data were compared using chi-square tests. Time series analysis assessed EHR messaging rates before intervention versus after intervention.

Results:

Five hundred seventeen providers responded to the postoutreach survey. Eighty-six percent were familiar with EHR messaging tool and 78% knew how to use it after intervention. Among practitioner groups, Family Medicine preferred EHR messaging the most (62%). Groups who declined outreach least preferred it (26%). Among 88 respondents with paired pre–post intervention surveys, familiarity rose (79–96%), and self-reported use increased (66–88%).

Conclusions:

Physician champion educational outreach increased the use of the secure provider-to-provider EHR messaging tool.

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