Study: MD emails could drain physician income

So, it's no surprise, but hey, numbers are worth something. New research from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research has concluded that when physicians and patients engage in email correspondence, patients are 7 percent to 10 percent less likely to see physicians for office visits. These patients also cut back on office phone calls by 14 percent. Kaiser didn't seem to draw any conclusions on whether the reduction in phone calls balanced out the loss of office visit income for physicians.

Researchers are drawing these numbers from the experience of Kaiser Northwest, which began using email several years ago as part of a pilot project. Through the pilot, 113,000 Kaiser members in Oregon and Washington state got access to email and Internet services as part of their health plan.

To find out more about the study:
- read this iHealthBeat article

ALSO:  To get a sense of how such communications work, check out Pres e-Care, the interactive service run by Albuquerque's Presbyterian Healthcare Service (on RelayHealth technology). Release

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