Why aren’t more Docs Web MDs?

February 9, 2007

In an article in USA Today, this is stated as a fact but primarily based on the 2005 Harris Interactive poll.  The interviewees for the article tend to confirm a low adoption rate for email communication with patients but debunk the fears that privacy will be compromised and that physicians will be overwhelmed with emails.

  • first, there needs to be updated survey data on physician adoption of email communication. More large group practices and small are providing this service as a way to distinguish their practice in a competitive market.
  • Second, privacy can be protected if the email is secure. There a plenty of services that now provide secure portals.
  • Third, managing patient emails depends on incentives – for Kaiser, an HMO, patient emails potentially reduce visits which make the physician’s schedule lighter and reduces cost for the HMO.  For non-HMO physicians, the incentives is more visits rather than non-reimbursed emails.  Once the right incentives are in place, the adoption rates will catch on since the technology is solid and available if implemented right.
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