Increasing Military Patient Use of Secure Messaging through Email Reminders
What was the challenge?
Military treatment facilities (MTFs) provide secure online messaging to allow patients to communicate with providers, get lab results, and renew prescriptions; however, only 47% of MTF enrollees register in the system, and only 6% use it.
What was the program change?
The Defense Health Agency (DHA), Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune (NMCCL), and OES designed an intervention involving follow-up emails sent by providers to patients who had already both received in-person encouragement from their provider and been offered on-the-spot assistance in registering in the secure messaging system.
How did the evaluation work?
Patients of roughly half of the providers in the NMCCL Family Medicine Clinic, who were assigned at random to a treatment condition, received follow-up emails. Patients of the remaining providers (the control condition) received no follow-up emails. We compared the numbers of patients in each group who registered for secure messaging.
What was the impact?
Although we earlier found that in-person encouragement and assistance was associated with increases in patient registration, we found no evidence of additional increases in secure messaging registration due to follow-up emails.