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Secure messaging is the preferred way of communicating clinical information between healthcare providers. It involves the use of software to encrypt messages which can then be delivered securely and imported seamlessly to the practice software of the receiving clinician. Email is generally not encrypted and can potentially be intercepted so is not recommended for clinical information. Alternatives such as fax or post also have limitations and shortcomings relating to security, timeliness and cost. The advantages of secure messaging include:
- Enhanced privacy and security
- Improved clinical care and coordination of care
- Streamlined administrative processes
- Integration with software
- Improved patient matching
- Ability to check audit trail
- Reduced use of paper
- Cost effectiveness
Types of messages that can be sent and received via secure messaging include referral letters, discharge summaries, radiology reports and pathology results.
Historically users of a particular secure messaging product have only been able to communicate with others using the same product. The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has a project underway to develop a set of specifications to facilitate interoperability between different secure messaging products. See here for more information.
Secure messaging is one of the five requirements for practices wishing to participate in the eHealth Practice Incentive Program (ePIP) .
Referrals to the mental health Stepped Care program can now be received by our mental health intake team via secure messaging using Medical Objects. Referral templates for this and other services can be found on our Templates page.
Queensland Health use their Secure Transfer Service (STS) to send clinical letters and discharge summaries via secure messaging (HealthLink or Medical Objects). For access to this service practices can register and keep their details up to date using the STS AddressBook Update Form.
Last Updated on October 7, 2021.