illustration of data communication cloud for patient communications article

The Importance of Secure Communication with Healthcare Providers 

Communication has never been more accessible; at our fingertips, we are fortunate to access cell phones, text messages, social media platforms, and e-mail. We can send and receive messages in seconds, making it easier to relay necessary information to friends and family. But what is the best way to communicate your needs to our healthcare providers? 

HIPAA Compliance and Protecting Personal Data & Health Information

We want to ensure that the information or question you are directing to us gets relayed to the intended recipient in a timely, efficient, and most importantly, safe manner. As with everything in health care, there are legal restraints regarding communication. HIPAA requires constant protection of electronic communication between patients and their medical providers regarding their health information- including any question you direct to our office. Any sort of “personal” account, such as e-mail, social media, or even a text message, is insufficient to protect your personal data and health information. All information must be securely delivered and encrypted.  Below is a list of acceptable methods for communicating your needs to the Couri Center:

  1. Call the Office: Speak with a Triage Nurse or Schedule an Appointment

Call our office (309) 692-6838 between 8 am – 4:30 pm Monday thru Friday and speak with a highly skilled triage nurse who can direct your call to your provider or schedule an appointment, if necessary. She will also document your questions and concerns. This allows your questions to become part of your permanent medical record. 

   2. Use the Patient Portal: Secure and Encrypted Messaging

Drop us a line through our secure and encrypted patient portal. These messages are also checked during regular business hours, Monday-Friday.   Using the patient portal is a convenient way to request prescription refills, ask your Provider a non-emergent medical question, receive and review your lab result, receive messages from one of our Providers, or ask a billing question.  

  1. Reach Out in an Emergency:  The After-Hours Line

In the case of a gynecologic emergency (severe pelvic pain, heavy vaginal bleeding, a urinary tract infection, or complications from a pellet insertion site), the After-Hours line provides a means to communicate with one of our healthcare Providers.  It is accessible by calling the main office number and following the appropriate prompts.  Please be mindful that this line is truly dedicated to emergencies, and non-emergent calls after hours will be subject to a $40 charge, often not covered by insurance.  

  1. A Few Gentle & Friendly Reminders

We are grateful to have earned your trust as your women’s healthcare provider.  In fact, many of our patients are our friends and/or close acquaintances.  We cherish the close bonds we have made with you, and it is you that makes our job incredibly gratifying.  However, due to the HIPAA law, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which refers to privacy concerning a person’s medical records, we cannot respond to medical questions sent to us via text or social media.  Thank you for your understanding regarding this issue.  


Thank you for communicating your healthcare needs to us. We are grateful to be a part of your healthcare team. 


Hope Placher, PA-C, MMS, IFMCP


DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this website is intended for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided is current as of the date of publication or last review, but medical knowledge is constantly evolving, and the information may become outdated over time.