Patients Who Email Doctors Less Likely to go for Visit, Study Finds

Jul 9, 2007

Patients with online access to an electronic health record are more likely to use secure email to contact their doctors about non-urgent matters, resulting in fewer primary care office visits and lower telephone contact rates, according to a study released yesterday by Kaiser Permanente.The study, published in the July American Journal of Managed Care, found that the use of secure email linked to an EHR decreased annual adult primary care outpatient and physician office visit rates by 7-10% and resulted in 14% fewer phone contacts. A random sample of 2,700 online users who emailed their physicians during a three-month period yielded more than 1,700 completed questionnaires; 25% of those respondents said they would have scheduled an appointment instead of electronic messaging and were “satisfied with and appreciated the alternative mode of care,” according to the study. More than 1.4 million Kaiser Permanente members are registered to use the secure online services on http://www.kp.org.

Source: AHA News Press Release

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