Increasing Military Patient Use of Secure Messaging through Personal Appeal and Assistance
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 added to family medicine appointments that consisted of: 1) providers making a personal appeal regarding registration during patient visits, 2) on-site staff assisting patients with signup, and 3) staff providing a checkout sheet to patients with registration instructions to complete later.
How did the evaluation work?
Patient registration for secure messaging at the NMCCL Family Medicine Clinic was compared to registration at seven other, demographically similar military treatment facilities selected by DHA over six and a half months.
What was the impact?
We estimate that the intervention was associated with an additional 224 patients registering in the secure messaging system per month, compared to a background growth in registrations of 48 per month across all of the sites — a greater than five-fold increase in the rate at which registrations grew.