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4 Steps to Secure Messaging Success

Tips to improve the use of Secure Messaging at your practice

Have we achieved functioning interoperability yet?   NOSecure Messaging
Can we move forward without it?   YES

Secure Messaging is a system that enables secure communication of clinical correspondence between health professionals. General email is not secure enough for clinical documents and secure messaging enables letters and documents to be sent point to point which means letters or referrals are encrypted and sent directly to the recipient and are not stored anywhere else. Read more here on Secure Messaging, why it is necessary and the benefits to practices

When training at practices across Australia I have noticed a definite trend – practices are receiving electronic correspondence via secure messaging – results, discharge summaries and Specialists’ letters but not routinely sending documents electronically. Faxing and mail is still commonplace in every practice and scanning is such a huge workload many practices are hiring staff specifically to scan. When I ask practices the reason they are not sending I find the answer seems to fall into two categories:

1) Not knowing how to configure clinical software to send, or
2) Knowing how but not having found the time to set up the address book (and then show the doctors how to use).

It usually does take a few hours to set up all your contacts in your address book etc but the benefits in time and cost saving alone are significant. To try and help busy practice support staff I have broken the process into 4 steps and created some tools which I hope will help.

Step 1: Find out which Secure Messaging Provider/s (SMP) your contacts are using
Step 2: Contact those SMPs so you can send/receive with your contacts
Step 3: Configure your software address book
Step 4: Train your staff on use


List below the 12 health professionals who you regularly receive and send correspondence to.
Tip: If you don’t know just ask the person in your practice who does the scanning because they will definitely know as they are constantly reading and typing their details .

  Clinician/Organisation Secure Messaging Provider


Is it clear from the above table which one or two Secure Messaging Providers (SMPs) you need to connect with?
Contact the providers and let them know you wish to send via their product.
Click here for a list of questions to consider when choosing a SMP.
Secure Messaging Providers (SMPs) and their contact details:

SMP Phone Website Provider Map
Argus 03 9037 1000
HealthLink 1800 125 036 General Provider Map by area for visual of who is using in your area.
Medical-Objects (07) 5456 6000 Provider Map
MMEx 1 300 722 926
ReferralNet Agent 1300 723 938 ReferralNet Messaging

We endeavoured to source all current Secure Messaging Providers compatible with common practice clinical software systems. Our apologies if we left any off the list and please let us know.

Tip: Secure Messaging is an essential component of the ePIP payment – Click here to see if your SMP is listed on the PIP eHealth Product Register for Secure Message Delivery (SMD).

STEPS 3 & 4

To set up your clinical software address book you usually need to know and enter the ID/EDI for the clinician/practice who will be receiving your secure message. Some SMPs will give you access to a website where you can simply look up the recipient, find the EDI and add to your address book. However the process will be different for each SMP and software system so please refer to the following table to access ‘How to’ Guides and videos for set-up and training and contact the SMP if you experience any difficulty:

SMP Links for help with set-up and send process
Argus User Guides and Cheat Sheets for sending and receiving and setting up your address book.
HealthLink Message Training Videos for sending and receiving correspondence and setting up your address book

HealthLink Manual for sending eReferrals in MedicalDirector Clinical

HealthLink Manual for sending  eReferrals in Best Practice 

Download the Summary Sheet for using Healthlink with MedicalDirector Clinical

MMEx User training and user guides are provides with all new installations.
Medical-Objects Medical Objects Training Videos (Trinity) for sending and receiving correspondence.
ReferralNet Agent Detailed instruction guides.


“In this day and age, when health professionals have access to systems that send information quickly and securely via electronic means, many are missing a great opportunity to spend less time on paperwork, and more time with their patients.” Phil Offer, CEO of MedicalDirector

More tips for success with Secure Messaging

Add a note to document templates

To encourage your referral base to adopt Secure Messaging and enable electronic communications throughout your local area, add a note to the footer of all your correspondence advising that your practice uses ‘XXX Secure Messaging and prefer to communicate securely and electronically’. You could add your SMP ID/EDI if relevant to make it easier for the other practice to add you to their address book.

Monitor Incoming and Outgoing Correspondence

Another benefit of Secure Messaging is knowing your mail was received at the other end.
Each Secure Messaging product has a method by which you can monitor that messages are in fact being sent and received successfully.

Please refer to the following table for details about how to access this information for your provider.

Argus Message Manager Quick Reference Guide
HealthLink Visible within MedicalDirector Clinical directly. Contact HealthLink for detail on visibility in other clinical software programs.
Medical-Objects Refer to the Capricorn Activity Report.
ReferralNet Agent Information about ReferralNet Notifications is available.

Read more information about Secure Messaging:
NEHTA: What is Secure Messaging
RACGP Digital Business Kit 
RACGP Guiding Principles on using email & Secure Communications in General Practice

My Opinion

I personally believe confidential clinical correspondence should be sent from clinician to clinician and we have the technology to enable that. I see Secure Messaging as one aspect of eHealth that immediately benefits our practices and patients. The reality of what I see visiting practices every day is still paper. Paper is chased, filed, scanned, shredded.  I often question if we are doing everything we can in our practices to minimise risk and protect patient privacy if we choose not to use secure electronic communication. So while many of us have been waiting (impatiently in my case) for one national directory with one button which we can just press and confidential correspondence will be sent regardless of the secure messaging provider used, we are yet to see this. While this directory does sound like a perfect solution to the challenge of interoperability we can’t wait for perfect – we need to move forward with the options available to us now.

To practice support staff – I know it is hard to find those few hours it will take to set up Secure Messaging in your practice but you’ll never look back.  Imagine how much extra time you would have if you could eliminate scanning!

And remember, if you need help – call us at Train IT Medical. Helping implement quality practice improvements is what we do 🙂










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