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The doctor will email you now
Date:8/5/2013

ents, or managing clinical conditions without requiring a time-consuming and costly office visit. Still, few physicians use it. By 2008, the latest year for which figures are available, less than 7 percent of physicians regularly communicated with their patients electronically.

Dr. Bishop sought not to conduct a national survey of use of electronic communication in doctors' offices, but to investigate how different practices use it, how successful they are, and what barriers they face.

She and her team interviewed leaders of 21 medical groups, and also interviewed the health care staff, including physicians, in six groups that use electronic communications extensively, but varied in their approach. Five of the six medical groups were large-- four had more than 500 physicians and one had 115 physicians. The sixth had 15 physicians within a large academic medical center. None were affiliated with Weill Cornell.

The leaders said they started electronic communication programs to improve access to care and communication with their patients. All six practices used the program to communicate test results, to allow patients to request medication refills, appointments and to ask questions of their doctors. Three practices used nurses, medical assistants or case managers to triage messages from patients; in the other three practices, patients could email nurses for refills or the front desk for appointments, but they could also email their physician directly. The volume of emails that reached physicians in the six programs varied from five to 50 daily.

Only one clinic charged patients for "e-visits"-- email that involved clinical decision-making. This group negotiated reimbursement for e-visits with private insurers and patients paid a copayment. Another clinic imposed a $60 annual fee for unlimited electronic communication, but later dropped the charge because competitors provided the service for free.

Two medical groups added "de
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Contact: Sarah Smith
sas2072@med.cornell.edu
646-317-7401
Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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