Patient Portal (MyAHS Connect) Messages
While there are a variety of ways to send messages to patients using the MyAHS Connect patient portal, In Basket is the tool prescribers use for receiving, reviewing and acting upon responses.
Sending Patient Messages
Clinicians can send patient messages from a variety of Hyperspace activities. Common starting points include:
In Basket - "Patient Message" button in top-level In Basket button bar.
Inpatient chart - "Send Patient Message" activity (accessible from global search or Epic menu).
Resolving incomplete documentation or open charts.
Accepting tasks sent to a pool (e.g., triage of incoming referrals).
Patient Message Attachments
Whether initiated from In Basket or from within an open chart workflow ("Send Patient Message" activity), patient messages support attachments. These which can be selected from the chart media manager, from available questionnaires and from a clinician's local collection of documents or files.
Receiving Patient Messages
Patients can send messages to clinics or clinicians via their MyAHS Connect account. By default, they can do this independently 90 days before or after a visit with the intended message recipient, excepting emergency and urgent care providers. Whether those messages are able to reach a physician’s In Basket is determined by whether that physician is in a department that schedules appointments in Connect Care (i.e., has a clinical support pool to support message management). If the physician is, these messages are routed to a clinical support pool (usually support staff) for the clinic. Physicians can also respond directly, after which all communications with that patient bypass the pool. Receiving clinicians receive alerts to incoming patient messages via Haiku/Limerick (configurable), Canto (configurable) and Hyperspace. All patient messages appear, and are reviewed, in In Basket, via a "Pt Advice Request" folder. See Part 3, Section 3 of the In Basket Best Practices Guide for more information.
A physician working in a mixed context (i.e., working in an AHS facility as well as at a private clinic/office in the community) may be added to a patient’s care team in Connect Care as a Primary Care Provider (PCP) for a patient receiving services with AHS; however, their role as PCP is related to their community clinic. Patient messages sent in this case would not be related to their care with AHS nor to the work the physician does in AHS. As there are no pools or structure to support these messages, the messages are routed to an IT team error pool instead of to the intended physician. After confirming that the intended recipient does not have a department that schedules appointments in Connect Care and therefore does not have a clinical support advice request pool to support message management. IT will then respond to the patient, letting them know their physician cannot be reached via MyAHS Connect, and to instead contact the community clinic directly.
Patient Message Task Management
As with other In Basket messages and tasks, incoming patient messages can be re-routed, copied, forwarded or deferred. Messages are automatically linked to the relevant patient chart and, if appropriate, have links to any associated patient questionnaires, images or attached documents.
Attaching Messages to Test Results
Another way to message patients involves attaching comments to test or intervention (e.g., diagnostic imaging) results released to the patient portal. Patients see these messages at the top of the result or report when it is selected and displayed in MyAHS Connect.
To attach comments to one or more reports routed to MyAHS Connect, use global search for "MyChart" when a patient's chart is open in Hyperspace. Select the jump to "MyChart Results Release" option that appears. A tip sheet illustrates how this activity exposes which results have been released to the patient portal, which have already been viewed, how to block patient portal results release, and how to attach comments or un-release specific results:
When MyAHS Connect Messaging Is Not Available
Patient sign-up and activation for MyAHS Connect is not instantaneous. Although clinicians can issue an "activation code" with a single click, patients do not get access to the portal until they have completed registration for an Alberta.ca Account (formerly known as the MyAlberta Digital ID or MADI service). This can involve delays of a week or more. And some patients find the process complex and confusing. While Connect Care secure patient messaging is always preferred, it is not always available.
If messaging outside of Connect Care (e.g., via text messaging, iMessage, WhatsApp) is necessary:
Confirm communication coordinates
Be sure to confirm both the patient's email address and mobile (text-enabled) telephone number. These should be checked against (and possibly updated) in the patient demographics activity, accessible by clicking on the patient name at the top of the StoryBoard appearing at the left of an opened chart.
Obtain patient verbal consent
Alert the patient that messaging outside of Connect Care is at risk of misdirection, interception, copying or otherwise viewing by unintended persons. Obtain verbal consent to proceed and document this in Connect Care (".MESSAGINGCONSENT" SmartPhrase).
Use appropriate devices
Personal communication devices (e.g., SmartPhones) should be enrolled in AHS Workspace ONE device management for clinical applications (see Mobility).
Document the messaging encounter
Use a "telephone" encounter type to record the fact that clinically important information has been exchanged via text or email outside of Connect Care, mentioning key topics addressed.
Manage personal risks
Any messaging to or from patients using applications outside of MyAHS Connect will expose the clinician's coordinates (e.g., telephone number) to the patient or family member. This may not be intended or appropriate.
Workflow demonstration - End-to-end patient messaging demonstration of how patients initiate messages, how support staff screen messages incoming to pools, and how prescribers are brought into "conversations".
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