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Secure messaging

Secure messaging allows health care providers to send and receive sensitive and confidential clinical information using a secure, encrypted system.

A padlock shown on a message bubble to indicate the concept of secure messaging.Information can include referrals, reports, pathology and radiology requests, results and discharge summaries.

Secure messaging:

  • integrates directly with most clinical software systems
  • makes critical patient information more readily available and accessible
  • records ‘send’ and ‘receive’ audit trails
  • enables providers to receive clinical information in real time
  • allows secure exchange of clinical information and documents, such as eReferrals and discharge summaries, preventing unauthorised access
  • reduces administration costs, including for stationery (paper and ink for scanning and faxing), postage and staff hours.

Several secure messaging software systems are used in the NWMPHN region. The most common are:

GPs can also use secure messaging to send referrals electronically (eReferral).

Infographics showing the information flow of secure messages.
The secure messaging process.

HealthLink SmartForms

HealthLink SmartForms streamline how GPs complete and submit referrals. The eReferral system is integrated with Medical Director, Best Practice, Medtech and Genie.

It allows you to select a form from your clinical software and automatically populate it with data from your patient’s record. You can then send the referral securely, and will receive an electronic acknowledgement. A copy of the eReferral is automatically saved in the patient’s record.

Currently, Northern Health, Austin Health and Eastern Health are set up to receive eReferrals from general practices using SmartForms.

Users can also ‘eRefer’ to optometrists and many private specialists in the region.

Other benefits for patients and providers

Secure messaging:

  • gives all health care providers the option of communicating with other professionals and their patients via secure digital channels
  • gives clinicians permission to search for other health care providers in their software provider’s directory to share clinical correspondence easily and securely
  • allows patients to communicate with their health care provider securely using digital channels
  • allows providers to share patients’ health data securely, reducing the burden on patients to retell their story and helping providers collaborate and coordinate more effectively.

How can we help?

Navigating the various secure messaging platforms can be both time-consuming and confusing. We can help you:

  • ensure your digital health accounts are set up and ready for secure messaging
  • assess the pros and cons of different secure messaging providers
  • develop or consider policies related to secure messaging facilities
  • make contact with a provider to register for a secure messaging product.

Contact us
Video: What is Secure Messaging? A recording of a webinar introducing secure messaging, by the Australian Digital Health Agency.