Secure electronic communication has significant potential to improve patient engagement, but in order to fully realize its potential, health care organizations must provide users with sufficient education and also provide a sense of confidentiality, according to a new study from Veterans Affairs researchers.

The researchers reported barriers to satisfied use of the secure messaging tool included veterans' discomfort with learning that members of their primary care teams other than the intended provider had access to their messages, care teams' discouraging the veterans from sending personal non-health related information, and refusal by care team staff to use the portal, instead reverting to telephone calls.

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