Question: How can a clinician send a message to a patient via the patient portal and also ensure the the patient's response is returned directly to the clinician without copying others?
Context: Patients who have activated MyAHS Connect (Patient Portal) are able to securely communicate with healthcare providers via Connect Care. However, outpatient clinics are configured by default to send incoming patient messages to a clinic pool for monitoring, screening and forwarding. This can help shield physicians from excess In-Basket messages, or delays in answering messages when physicians are busy. However, sometimes physicians will want to both send and receive a patient message without anyone else being part of the communication loop.
Answer: When composing messages to patients (e.g., using the "Send Patient Message" activity in chart review, accessible via the global search box by typing the keyword "message"), look for and be sure to check the "Send patient reply to me" option. From February 2020, this option is selected by default, but can be unselected. Checking this option will avoid sensitive information unintentionally being copied to a clinic incoming message pool.
The physician should have an understanding with the patient about reasonable response times, as no support staff will be monitoring responses. Also remember that if one's In-Basket is signed out to a delegate or covering group (e.g., in case of vacation), then the patient message will be seen by the delegate.