The American Academy of Family Physicians will soon offer its members a secure clinical messaging service aimed at boosting physician adoption of the patient-centered medical-home model and supporting practices' efforts to meet the meaningful-use criteria for federal information technology subsidies.
AAFP to launch clinical messaging service
Called AAFP Physicians Direct, the service, which is connected to the Surescripts electronic prescribing network, will cost doctors $15 a month, according to a news release from the academy. Messages will be available via a Web portal or through three electronic health-record vendors: Amazing Charts, e-MDs and SOAPware.
Representatives from all five organizations, as well as Dr. Farzad Mostashari from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, were present at a news conference in Washington announcing the launch.
"It's exciting to see something that will actually work," said Dr. S. Hughes Melton, a Lebanon, Va.-based family physician and the AAFP's 2011 Physician of the Year.
"We are finally getting rid of the fax machine," declared Dr. Randall Oates, SOAPware founder and president.
Cris Ross, Surescripts executive vice president, said the service should be in operation by the second quarter of this year.
Despite the news conference's focus on meaningful use, Ross said in an e-mail that Surescripts' role in Physicians Direct had no connection to its recent ONC designation as an authorized testing and certification body for EHR systems.
He also said Physicians Direct differs from the American Medical Association's Amagine physician portal in that Physicians Direct focuses on physician connectivity, whereas Amagine offers several additional applications and tools, including revenue-cycle management and clinical decision support.
"Amagine is sponsored by the AMA, so the comparison is reasonable," Ross said. "But I think we're doing different things."
According to the AMA's website, access to AmagineBasic costs $149 a year for AMA members and their practice staff and $575 for nonmembers.
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