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Int J Med Inform. 2003 Apr;70(1):1-9.

Opportunities to enhance patient and physician e-mail contact.

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  • 1Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Abstract

The purpose of our study was to evaluate how e-mail is currently used between physicians and patients in an integrated delivery system, and to identify developments that might promote increased use of this form of communication. A paper-based survey questionnaire was administered to 94 primary care physicians. We evaluated the role e-mail currently plays in a physician's typical work day, physician views on the impact of e-mail on phone use and the barriers to increasing the use of e-mail with patients. 76% of physicians surveyed responded. All respondents currently use e-mail. Close to 75% of physicians use e-mail with their patients, but the vast majority do so with only 1-5% of those patients. 50% of physicians believe that up to 25% of their patients would send e-mail to them if given the option, with an additional 37% believing that between 25% and 50% of patients would value this option. The main reported barriers to physician-patient e-mail related to workload, security and payment. Our survey findings indicate that with adequate pre-screening, triage, and reimbursement mechanisms physicians would be open to substantially increasing e-mail communication with patients.

PMID:
12706177
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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