Friday, October 12, 2007

E -Mailing Doctors Boosts Health Access, Quality, Study Finds

Parents who contacted their child's pediatrician through e-mail reported increased access to care and improved quality of care, according to a study in the October issue of Pediatrics, Reuters Health reports.

Paul Rosen and C. Kent Kwoh of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine studied results from a physician e-mail access program over a two-year period. Along with improved access and quality of care, families who used the program also said they had a "better understanding of their child's medical tests," Rosen said.

The researchers found using the e-mail program provided responses from physicians 57% faster than using the telephone. Forty percent of the 848 e-mails were sent outside business hours, according to the study. The program asked that participants not use e-mail for emergencies. Researchers found that 5.7% of total messages were urgent, such as notification of new symptoms or an expectation of a same-day response from the doctor.

"Patients would like the ability to e-mail their doctors," Rosen said, adding, "More physicians should consider providing the service" (Douglas, Reuters Health, 10/10).


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