Health Information Technology

Making Health IT Work For You

A patient-centered medical home automates business and clinical processes, depends on clinical decision support tools, and connects patients with the health care team.

Connect & Communicate

Email with Patients

Freeze tag is fun; phone tag is frustrating. Offering your patients the opportunity to communicate with your practice via email can improve their satisfaction and can reduce the amount of time your staff spends returning missed calls.

Assess Readiness
Data gathered from a patient survey and phone call tracking exercise can tell you whether the time is right to start using email to communicate with patients.

Create an Email Policy
Having a thoughtful and documented policy in place supports both the provider and the patient.

Establish Workflow: Email
As with any standard operating procedure, orderly workflows support you, your office staff, and patients.

Select a Product
We can't tell you which system to buy, but we can help you decide what functionality is important and help you gather data from your peers.

Market Your Email Service
Promoting your service will bring quicker results than word-of-mouth alone, so learn some simple ways to spread the word.

Evaluate the Email Service
You, your staff, and your patients all have opinions about how things can work better. Ask how, and put suggestions into practice.


Writing an e-script takes about as much time as writing one on paper. But e-prescribing can save your staff a lot of time, and patients appreciate that they don't have to wait once they get to the pharmacy.

Assess Readiness
Take the Get Rx Connected survey and find out what your options are for e-prescribing.

Find Participating Pharmacies
Find the pharmacies in your area that accept e-scripts; from there, make a list of the ones your patients like to do business with.

Share Clinical Data Electronically

Secure messaging with other providers will improve care coordination and practice efficiency -- and it will help you achieve Meaningful Use.

Assemble a Project Team
Select and educate team members, then build the case for electronic messaging and get other practices on board.

Establish Workflow
Figure out how your practice will handle secure messaging of clinical data.

Select & Use a Clinical Data-sharing System
Do your research, get references, make a decision, and get going.

Market, Improve, & Evaluate: Clinical Data-sharing
Find ways to enhance your workflows, and consider switching messaging systems if you find one with advantages. Along the way, encourage even more practices to try secure messaging.

Clinical Data: Capture & Analyze

Medication Histories

How to find out whether your system supports them.

Verify EHR System Capabilities
Does your system have medication history functionality? If so, is it enabled? If not, how do you make that happen?

Join a free collaborative online network committed to practice transformation. Learn more about Delta-Exchange.

This Patient-Centered Medical Home section of the AAFP web site was supported in part by a grant from Merck & Co.

PCMH Planner

Take it step-by-step as you prepare to attest for Meaningful Use Stage 1 or Stage 2. The AAFP’s PCMH Planner gets you ready.

Learn More »