Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Survey Shows Few Patients Send E-Mail to Physicians

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Survey Shows Few Patients Send E-Mail to Physicians

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO -- Not many patients are e-mailing their physicians, and of those who do, the majority click "send" less than once a month, an online survey of 1,881 people suggests.

Fewer than 17% of respondents reported recently e-mailing their physicians, Thomas K. Houston, M.D., said at the triennial congress of the International Medical Informatics Association.

The survey recruited respondents mainly from the Aetna InteliHealth Web site (www.intelihealth.com); some were recruited from patient e-mail portals operated by Harvard Medical School, Boston.

In-depth phone interviews with 56 of the 311 respondents who had e-mailed their physicians revealed that 30 did so less than once a month, 12 e-mailed about once per month, and 14 e-mailed their physicians more frequently, said Dr. Houston of the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

"Certainly, one of the concerns that physicians have had is being overwhelmed by e-mail" if they offer that option to patients, he said. These results suggest that this is not a problem, but that conclusion could change if more patients begin e-mailing, he added. …

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