Doc-patient email results in 10 more office visits per week

Patients with online access to their medical records and email communication with clinicians have more interaction with their clinicians, including office visits and phone calls, according to a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Contradicting previous research on the subject, researchers at Kaiser Permanente Colorado found a significant increase in office visits (0.7 per member per year) and telephone encounters (0.3 per member per year), as well as a rise in after-hours clinic visits (18.7 per 1,000 members per year), emergency department encounters (11.2 per 1,000 members per year), and hospitalizations (19.9 per 1,000 members per year). Lead researcher Ted Palen estimated for a physician practice of 1,000 patients, the increase would amount to 10 more office visits a week, Reuters reported. --Read the full story from FierceHealthIT