CarePaths has upgraded our messaging system to include email notifications to external/personal email addresses. All users who have a valid email registered in their User Settings will receive email notifications about new messages and alerts that have been sent to their internal eRecord Mailbox.

To put it another way, given the sometimes unreliable delivery of Internet email, we are now always sending messages and alerts to a user’s internal eRecord Mailbox (for patients this is the Patient Portal; for clinicians this is their Messages link on their Home page). That delivery is much more reliable as it never leaves our application. Once delivered, the new message is available whenever the user logs in. This now includes appointment and other alerts that have previously been sent out only as email. These alert messages are also now routed through the internal mail system and now are the same messages that may be delivered to email via notifications.

Email notifications to a user’s personal email is a new feature. In the past, we only sent alert messages to user personal emails. These messages were not viewable in the application as a message nor could we always ensure delivery. Regular mail messages, from a patient to a staff for example, while readable in the application, would often sit waiting in the recipient’s Inbox unread waiting for the user to log in. Mail messages now also have email notifications, including mail messages to staff. Now when a staff or patient gets an internal mail message or alert, they will receive an email notification in their personal/external email notifying them and providing a direct link to read the message.

Because of privacy concerns, mail messages which may contain protected, personal information are not sent in full text in email notifications to external email addresses. Internet email is an inherently insecure messaging system and is not by default encrypted or authenticated in a way that prevents transmissions from being read by unauthorized persons. To balance the need to have an easy way to read mail that has been sent internally, we provide a secure link back to our application allowing users to read the full text of a mail message. Alerts are sent out full text as the content of these messages is controlled and so has much less potential risk.

Any user that wishes to opt out of email notifications to their personal email can simply visit the User Settings page by clicking their name in the upper right corner of the application and then unchecking the new “Send email notifications?” checkbox. This checkbox is directly under the input to enter their email address. Note that email notifications can’t be sent unless the user has a valid email address listed in User Settings. Staff can also update a patient’s email and notification preferences on the patient’s Account tab.

Over the next few weeks, we will be continuing to rework and integrate more features on top of this new messaging platform.