Get Started with Direct Secure Messaging

Direct Secure Messaging, available in PCC EHR, is a communication technology used to exchange private medical information. Direct Secure Messaging requires special registration and unique addresses that are similar to, but not the same as, e-mail.

If your practice activates Direct Secure Messaging at your practice and you register clinical users, you can:

  • Send a Direct Secure Message containing a Summary of Care (also called a Transition of Care) document to another medical practice
  • Receive Direct Secure Messages from other medical practices and add the information they contain to a patient’s chart
  • Allow your patient and families to send a visit summary directly from MyKidsChart to another medical practice using a Direct Secure Message

Patient Portal Messages vs. Direct Secure Messaging: The patient portal and PCC EHR support two different messaging technologies. Portal messages are a secure, optional messaging tool built into the patient portal. Patient portal users can exchange messages with their pediatric practice, and the practice can receive and send portal messages with PCC EHR or pocketPCC. Direct Secure Messaging, on the other hand, is a specialized message technology used to share and send medical information. It requires registration with a third-party service and it allows for secure transmission of C-CDA transition of care documents or visit summaries. For more information, refer to Receive and Respond to Portal Messages or Direct Secure Messaging.

Activate Direct Secure Messaging For Your Practice

When you are ready to activate Direct Messaging for your practice, contact PCC Support. We will create your practice’s Direct Secure Messaging connection. PCC partners with Updox to manage the back-end of the service.

Create Direct Secure Messaging Accounts for Users

After Direct Secure Messaging is turned on for your practice, use the User Administration tool to create Direct Secure Messaging accounts.

Open a user account in PCC EHR’s User Administration tool, and then use the “Direct Secure Messaging” tab to create their account.


Who Needs a Direct Secure Messaging Account?: Direct Secure Messaging is optional, and PCC recommends you only create accounts for users who will communicate using Direct Secure Messaging, such as clinicians who transmit and receive electronic transition of care documents. PCC EHR supports Direct Secure Messaging, which is part of making PCC EHR a Meaningful Use certified EHR using the 2014-edition standards. However, your physicians may decide they prefer not to manage an additional communication channel.

After you create the account, you can see the user’s Direct Secure Messaging address as well as options to deactivate their account or set directory preferences.

The user’s Direct Secure Messaging account address also appears in the user’s My Account tool.


You can provide your address to patients or other medical practices, and they can use the address to send you transition of care documents.

Register Your Practice with the DirectTrust Network

Once your practice’s Direct Secure Messaging service is turned on, you can send and receive direct messages to other users within the Updox network. However, in order to communicate with the full range of medical practices, at least one Direct Messaging user at your practice needs to be your practice’s legal representative for Direct Secure Messaging.

Only one Direct Secure Messaging user at your practice needs to complete the registration with the DirectTrust Network. Click on the blue link to get started.



The Updox website will walk the user through the registration process. The user will need to enter identifying information and answer demographic questions to verify their identity.

Once the process is complete, you will see the result in the User Administration tool, or in the My Account tool.

Once one user on your system has registered your practice with the DirectTrust Network, all Direct Secure Message users will have access to the Direct Secure Messaging trust network.

Can a Practice Send and Receive Direct Secure Messages Without Registering?: Your practice can elect not to have a user register with the DirectTrust Network (a process also known as “vetting” your practice’s account). You will still be able to send and receive messages, but you will be limited to contacting other Direct Secure Messaging users who use the Updox service.

What if the Registered User Leaves Your Practice?: When you disable a user from PCC EHR, their Direct Secure Messaging account will be disabled. If the registered Direct Secure Messaging user is disabled, PCC EHR will send a message to Updox, the third-party vendor that manages Direct Messaging accounts. Your practice will no longer be registered. You will see the DirectTrust network information link in the User Administration tool as shown above. A different user can use the link in the User Administration tool or the My Account tool to re-register your practice.

Send a Direct Secure Message with a Summary of Care Record

You can use Direct Secure Messaging to send a message and a Summary of Care Record to a specialist for a referral or to another clinician as part of a transition of care.

For more information, read the Send and Receive Direct Secure Messages help article.

Receive a Direct Secure Message and Add It to a Patient’s Chart

To learn how to receive a Direct Secure Message in PCC EHR, as well as how to add it to a patient’s chart, work with the message and import medical data, read Send and Receive Direct Secure Messages.

Customize Your Practice’s Direct Secure Message Protocol

When you work with Direct Secure Messages in PCC EHR, you can use a custom protocol that includes components that will help you respond to the information in the message and take action.

Your practice can customize the Direct Secure Message protocol in the Protocol Configuration tool. For example, you may want to add the patient’s Problem List, History, or Upcoming Appointments components to assist your workflow when you read and evaluate a Direct Secure Message.


For information about protocols in PCC EHR, you can read about Protocol Configuration.

Patients and Families Can Send Direct Secure Messages in MyKidsChart, the Patient Portal

Once your practice has activated Direct Secure Messaging, your patients and families can use the patient portal to send their own visit summary directly to other physicians and medical practices.

To learn more, read Send and Receive Direct Secure Messages.

  • Last modified: April 24, 2019