Building Bridges in Healthcare: Standardizing Medical Marijuana Discussions within WVDirect

The West Virginia Health Information Network (WVHIN) prides itself on its robust and secure messaging system, WVDirect. As part of our continuous efforts to support healthcare providers, we recently took on a pivotal project: developing a standardized protocol for healthcare providers to follow when discussing medical marijuana treatment options with patients through WVDirect.

The Need for a Standard Protocol

As medical marijuana gains traction as a therapeutic option, healthcare providers are increasingly faced with the challenge of effectively discussing this topic with patients. To aid in this, we identified the need for a standardized protocol. This protocol would serve as a guide, assisting healthcare providers in having meaningful, comprehensive, and ethically sound conversations about medical marijuana with their patients.

Challenges and Resolutions

The development of a standardized protocol was not without its hurdles. The main challenge lay in striking a balance between ensuring sufficient guidance and allowing for individualized patient care. The solution to this required walking a tightrope — creating a protocol that was specific enough to be useful yet flexible enough to allow for personalization.

Another challenge was addressing the wide range of scenarios healthcare providers might encounter in discussing medical marijuana. To ensure the protocol could cater to this diversity, we enlisted the help of a range of medical professionals, legal experts, and patient advocates. These diverse inputs helped us create a comprehensive protocol adaptable to various situations.

The Resulting Protocol

The finalized protocol provides a roadmap for healthcare providers when discussing medical marijuana treatment options via WVDirect. It offers guidance on initiating the conversation, explaining the benefits and risks, addressing patient concerns, and documenting the discussion, ensuring a holistic approach to this sensitive topic.

Community Response

The introduction of the standardized protocol was met with broad approval from the healthcare community. Providers appreciated the clear guidance, finding it useful in navigating conversations about medical marijuana. Patients, on the other hand, felt more secure knowing that their providers were following a structured approach in discussing this complex treatment option.


The development of a standardized protocol for discussing medical marijuana within WVDirect demonstrates WVHIN’s commitment to improving patient-provider communication. This initiative empowers healthcare providers to engage more effectively with their patients, promoting comprehensive and individualized patient care. As we continue to advance, we remain focused on harnessing technology to improve healthcare conversations and outcomes.