Registration for AAFP Physicians Direct is now open, and AAFP members are welcome to explore the Academy's secure clinical messaging system, which allows users to send an unlimited number of messages and data files, including physician referrals and patient lab results, to their clinical colleagues.
"Family physicians tell me that one of their biggest frustrations is their inability to safely and electronically share patient information with other health care professionals," said Steven Waldren, M.D., director of the AAFP's Center for Health IT. "AAFP Physicians Direct is a simple low-cost solution that addresses that continuity-of-care issue." In addition, the receiving party doesn't have to be a subscriber to the service.
Enhanced communication between physicians and other professionals on a patient's health care team also will help physicians achieve meaningful use of electronic health records and advance the patient-centered medical home model of care, Waldren noted.
Family physicians who register for the messaging service by Aug. 31 pay just $90 a year or $7.50 a month, which is a 50 percent discount off the regular fee. Waldren is urging family physicians to "take advantage of the discounted offer, get registered and start using the service."
Although members will be charged the full $15 at the time of purchase, they will receive a $7.50 credit on their credit cards within 48 hours after the transaction.
AAFP Physicians Direct was first unveiled at a February news conference, and is made possible via the AAFP's collaboration with Surescripts, an operator of one of the nation's largest electronic prescription networks.
Three health information technology companies -- SOAPware, Amazing Charts and e-MDs -- announced in February that they plan to embed Physicians Direct messaging technology into their products.