Healthcare News & Insights

Study: Why docs won’t email their patients

Only 7% of physicians regularly use e-mail to interact with patients. Why don’t more busy docs use this time-saving tool?

One reason: 65% of doctors don’t have e-mail access to patients to begin with.

That’s one of the takeaways from the recent survey conducted by the Center for Studying Health System Change.

Many in the health care field thought that as electronic health records (EHRs) became more common, use of e-mail as a way to communicate with patients would grow as well. That hasn’t really been the case: Doctors using EHRs are more likely to use e-mail — but the increase hasn’t nearly kept pace with the usage of EHRs.

The researchers believe the lack of reimbursement for e-mail consultations with patients is a big barrier for most physicians. Doctors most likely to use e-mail were part of a large group practices or HMOs and those working in medical school-owned offices, clinics or hospital staffs. Solo practitioners were least likely to communicate with patients via e-mail.

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