Select & Use a Clinical Data-sharing System

Steps to Selecting & Using a Messaging System

Research messaging systems to consider

  • Appoint a team member to coordinate the search.
  • Consider these options:
    • If many practices in your community use the same electronic messaging system, it makes sense to consider it. For example, is a regional health information organization (RHIO) or a local hospital already providing a health information exchange (HIE) or planning to soon? Or are most area doctors using a system from the same vendor?
    • Consult this document(1 page DOC) for other sources to consider for secure electronic messaging.

Ask questions, get references

  • Use these questions(1 page DOC) to gather information about the messaging systems that interest you, or create your own questions. Use the responses to compare the systems.
  • Watch a demo of each system, if available.
  • Get family medicine references for the systems you like. Ask the references to provide feedback on this form(1 page DOC), or create your own form.

Select a system

Review the information you've collected. Discuss the top systems with the team and with other physicians in the practice. After getting their input, select one.

Share data electronically

  • Start small, using electronic messaging to send one type of information (such as referrals) to one or two practices. Review the new workflow to refresh everyone's memory. Notify the practices that you'll be testing the system with them.
  • Once you've tested the system and the workflow and worked out any bugs, expand use to all types of information and all practices that are on board.

What you will need

  • Decision-making authority
  • Time for investigating and selecting a system
  • Money to pay for the system
  • Time to test and de-bug before full rollout

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Outcome: Electronic data sharing

Time to Complete: Several months