Despite the explosion of online communication in the community, its use between patients and their health care providers remains low. However, rapidly growing patient and provider interest in using online communication has motivated organizations to consider options for deploying these new tools in clinical practice. In this paper, we describe the barriers and challenges health care providers and their organizations must address in developing and deploying these new tools. We formulate lessons from early experiences with e-mail and web-based communication in clinical settings. Finally, we provide a roadmap for developing and deploying these new tools in clinical practice. Health care providers and their organizations will need to consider issues related to technology, data management, operations, communication management, and financial support in order to successfully deploy online services and communication for patients in clinical settings.