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3 in 4 Patients Want E-mail Consultations with Doctors

Ryan Chiavetta, November 1, 2013

Privacy Matters
Privacy is another element that is vital to the e-mail consultation process, and it's an area of concern that Davis, Sizemore-Ruiz and Handley all take seriously in their practices.

"We actually share their whole health record online with them so they can see their immunizations, medications, [and] make appointments online," said Handley. "It's much more secure than a paper chart. We do that in a compliant way that meets all the industry standards for privacy."

"There are HIPAA-compliant e-mail companies that you can use and you can also password protect the e-mail and the patient also has a password," said Sizemore-Ruiz. "Also in our particular electronic medical records system, we can send e-mails through our EMR, which is HIPAA-compliant."

Patient demand for email consultations is clearly growing, but how quickly remains to be seen.

"I don't know how quickly this will move," said Davis. "There is such high patient expectation and demand that I think the opportunity is there for physician practices and health plans to try to sort this out sooner rather than later and capture the appeal of this particular way of interacting with physicians that patients are obviously seeking."

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2 comments on "3 in 4 Patients Want E-mail Consultations"


Marcus M (11/22/2013 at 12:22 PM)
Email is not the way to communicate medical issues with patients, in my opinion, based on personal experience with telephone communications with these same patients who cannot communicate over the phone what is really going on. How are they supposed to communicate via email and get a "medical opinion" that may not be based on clinical and objective evidence?

pk (11/12/2013 at 2:27 PM)
Half of the parents surveyed (49%) said they believed a co-pay for an email consultation should be less than a co-pay from an office visit and nearly half said e-mail consultations should be a free service. 1) this is why email is NOT a viable option. patients want this for free and the doctors take liability and time to respond with treatment plan. 2) should be FREE. of course since groceries are for free and gas for the car is also free.