Initial experience with patient-clinician secure messaging at a VA medical center

J Am Med Inform Assoc. Mar-Apr 2009;16(2):267-70. doi: 10.1197/jamia.M2835. Epub 2008 Dec 11.


The authors implemented what is possibly the first secure messaging system in a VA Medical Center. Since reimbursement for secure messaging is not of great concern and clinical data systems are fully computerized, several evaluation strategies were used to assess clinical adoption. To address known concerns of clinicians, the authors analyzed secure messaging use and performed a content analysis. Message volumes were low and content analysis demonstrated that messages were appropriate. Despite this, a clinician survey showed that clinical adoption was impeded by several factors including the introduction of secure messaging to selected patients, workload concerns, and clinician communication preferences. In addition, the authors believe that clinicians experienced clinical adoption inertia resulting from the overload of information in a highly computerized clinical environment. The authors learned that to promote clinician adoption they must demonstrate workload benefits from secure messaging and more fully analyze the clinical computing workload that clinicians experience.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Computers*
  • California
  • Communication
  • Computer Security*
  • Electronic Mail*
  • Hospital Information Systems
  • Hospitals, Veterans / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Workload