Study: Patients Don't Abuse Email Privileges with Docs
the MPR take:
Although challenges persist regarding email communication between clinicians and patients, patients are not likely to overwhelm their doctors with email volume. A new study in the journal Health Affairs analyzed message volume in a large academic health system’s patient portal from 2001 –2010; by the end of the study, 22.7% of all patients in the health system had enrolled in the portal and 36.9% of these patients had sent at least one message to a physician. Some physicians worry that patients will send an overwhelming number of emails but in this study, the number of messages per hundred patients per month stabilized between 2005–2010. The total number of emails tripled over the study time frame due to the increasing number of participating patients, not because individual patients were sending more and more emails. Messages were most often sent in the morning, but approximately one-third were sent after office hours, which suggest that email could help to prevent emergency room visits with improved doctor-patient communication in off-hours. Unfortunately for most physicians, email communication is not usually an activity that is reimbursed by private insurance companies (unlike face-to-face office visits). The study authors suggests new innovative models for reimbursement that would take into account time spent on email communication, as well as direct financial incentives.
Remember memos. As late as the 1990s, businesspeople would type, print and copy a formal memorandum onto a sheet of pre-printed letterhead to be delivered the next day. But those days before email are ancient history, right. Perhaps not, if you work in healthcare. Despite fueling nearly 18% of our [...].
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