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Why More Doctors Should Use E-mail

Posted May 9th, 2008 by Patient Assistance Team
It's become a growing trend in America for people to do most of their communication through the internet, e-mail, or text messaging as opposed to using the phone. While you may not always been in an appropriate environment to answer your phone, you can easily respond to a text message or e-mail without there being much of an issue. So in a field like the healthcare industry, that is so drive by technological advancements, why is it so uncommon for a doctor or their office to communicate through these methods when their patients clearly want it?

As of last year, less than 31% of doctors utilized the internet or their e-mail to communicate with patients. One of the most common reasons given for why over 2/3rds of the nations doctors would participate in this form of communication was because they felt that this would significantly add to their work load and wouldn't be considered as a billable service to the patients health insurance. While that may in fact be true, the same was said about making phone calls to patients when that technology first launched, and it isn't consider to be a billable service either.

Healthcare professionals have also expressed concerns over whether the systems that would be used are secure enough for the type of material that would be sent back and forth. These communications would also have to be documented and put into a patients file as well.

A study done in 2007 by the University of Pittsburgh followed 121 families who corresponded with their doctors through e-mail, found that the patients questions where answered on average 57% of the time faster than by telephone. This also significantly reduced the number of visits that these patients made and allowed for speedy refills and help to be given in non-emergency based situations.

By having doctors take on e-mail based communication, patients won't have to make an appointments for simple tasks like having their patient assistance program form filled out by their doctor, thus avoiding the expensive co-pays they may face. This cuts down on unnecessary doctors visits and allows the doctor to focus on their patients who have pressing medical needs. Having the ability to receive your test results or to send in your readings through e-mail would make the entire situation that much easier.

So instead of printing out your prescription assistance form and making an appointment, call your doctors office and ask for their e-mail address so that you can save both you and your doctor time and keep that unnecessary co-pay money in your pocket for when you really need to see your doctor.