From the mHealthNews archive

EHR provider touts a safer way to text

By Eric Wicklund

In yet another sign that EHR providers recognize the value of real-time care coordination, athenahealth has rolled out its own secure text messaging solution.

Called athenaText, it's available free of charge to everyone on the company's network and fully integrated with the company's cloud-based EHR platform, accessible through either its own app or the Epocrates app. It’s designed to enable healthcare providers to collaborate quickly and safely via mobile device while accessing the medical record.

[See also: How one hospital tapped text messaging as a workflow tool]

“We designed athenaText so doctors and staff can communicate with each other wherever and whenever they need on a unified, easy-to-use platform,” Abbe Don, athenahealth's vice president of strategic design, said in a press release. “We’re excited to offer healthcare professionals one of the first end-to-end experiences that bridges communication gaps and keeps critical health information flowing between providers - through the EHR and mobile.”

The HIPAA-compliant service also addresses another compelling argument: Healthcare providers are communicating via text message or e-mail anyways, whether it's legal or safe, so why not give them something that meets their need for real-time collaboration without putting them or their patients in harm's way?

Among the early adopters is Annapolis Internal Medicine.

[See also: Care coordination begins with communication]

“For years, we played phone tag,” Kevin Groszkowski, MD, said in the press release. “Now our entire care team is communicating effectively and securely on one, fully-integrated system. For example, the front desk alerts medical assistants via text when patients arrive to pick up prescriptions, while the billing team keeps us docs on task with text reminders to fill out patient charges."

"(T)he biggest benefit is being able to respond immediately to clinical questions from our nurse practitioners — whether I’m in or out of the office," he continued. "What I love is that the care isn’t slowed down because I missed a call or e-mail, and patients aren’t kept waiting. athenaText keeps the care cycle moving forward, saving us valuable time while improving patient care.”

 

[See also: Why don't doctors use secure messaging to coordinate care?]