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Secure Messaging

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Documentation Copyright © 2024 by Adrian Starzynski under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License


This article describes the use cases and methods of sending secure messages, emails, and text messages (SMS) to patients directly from OSCAR EMR.

What is Secure Messaging?

Secure messaging is a method of sending sensitive PHI (Personal Health Information), eForms, documents, attachments, lab reports, canned responses, and other details securely without the risks of email or insecure transmission. If you send PHI to patients in a regular email or attachment, that is a risk as email itself is not a secure means of sending data because it could get compromised either at your (sending) end, or on the recipient’s side.

Secure messaging allows you to use a plugin for the EMR to be able to send PHI, documents, eForms, attachments, lab reports, canned responses, etc. securely.

How Does Secure Messaging Work?

When you send a secure message from the Cortico plugin, the information is not sent as a regular plain text email. The patient is sent an email with a LINK they need to click to access the message. However, after clicking the link the patient needs to input their date of birth and health card number in order to verify they are the intended recipient of the message. Then the patient can view the secure contents of the message and download the attachments. As per PHI security regulations, the secure contents of the message are only available to the patient for a limited period of time (usually around 14-30 days) before it expires and would need to be sent again.

You can also send a text message to patients directly from the eChart in OSCAR using the Cortico plugin. You can create canned responses for your messages using the plugin, saving you from typing the same things over and over.

How Do You Send Attachments?

With the Cortico plugin there are a few easy ways to send attachments securely to patients…

To send an eForm, you can go into the eForm and click the Cortico plugin icon in the bottom-right of your screen and the eForm will be attached to the secure message automatically without need to download and re-upload anything.

To send a document that is in the patient’s chart (under the Documents section), first go to the eChart or Master Record of the patient and click “Documents”. Then you can click “Send” next to the document you want to send and it will be attached to the message without needing to download/re-upload anything.

To send a file attachment that is not in OSCAR (i.e. upload a file attachment), go to the plugin homescreen in the eChart and click “Attach File” and you will be able to upload the file to send securely.

There are many more features / ways of sending secure messages with the plugin. See the post here for details.

Video Demo

The following videos show the secure messaging and sending documents/eforms/labs features of the Cortico plugin:

More Information

Need more details on the plugin? Please reach out.

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