Using secure messaging to update medications list in ambulatory care setting

T. S. Raghu, Keith Frey, Yu Hui Chang, Meng Ru Cheng, Sharon Freimund, Asha Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study analyzed patient adoption of secure messaging to update medication list in an ambulatory care setting. The objective was to establish demographic differences between users and non-users of secure messaging for medications list update. Efficiency of secure messaging for the updates was compared to fax and telephone based updates. Methods: The study used a retrospective, cross-sectional study of patient medical records and pharmacy call logs at Mayo Clinic, Arizona from December 2012 to May 2013, approximately one year after organizing a pharmacy call center for medication updates. A subgroup analysis during a 2-week period was used to measure time to complete update. Main measures: Main dependent variable is the frequency of medication list updates over the study duration. Technician time required for the update was also utilized. Results: A total of 22,495 outpatient visits were drawn and 18,702 unique patients were included in the primary analysis. A total of 402 unique patients were included in sub-group analysis. Secure message response rate (49.5%) was statistically significantly lower than that for phone calls (54.8%, p<. 0.001). Time to complete the update was significantly higher for faxed medication lists (Wilcoxon rank-sum tests, p<. 0.001) when compared to those for secure message or phone. Conclusions: Around 50% of the patients respond to medication update requests before office visit when contacted using phone calls and secure messages. Given the demographic differences between users and non-users of patient portal, mixed mode communication with patients is likely to be the norm for the foreseeable future in outpatient settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-762
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Ambulatory care facilities
  • Clinical pharmacy services
  • Medication reconciliation
  • Patient portal
  • Secure messaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


Dive into the research topics of 'Using secure messaging to update medications list in ambulatory care setting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this