Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, April 23, 2021

Wouldn’t it be nice to shoot your physician an email when you have a non-critical medical concern, instead of sacrificing the better part of a day with phonetag or an office visit? Good luck getting a response to such an inquiry: Only about a third of U.S. doctors say they respond to patients’ emails, with the rest offering up basically an “I-don’t-wanna” excuse.

Doctors have their reasons for not hitting the reply button more often. Some worry it will increase their workload, and most physicians don’t get reimbursed for it by insurance companies. Others fear hackers could compromise patient privacy — even though doctors who do e-mail generally do it through password-protected Web sites…

Dr. Daniel Z. Sands, an assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School, is among the early adopters who doesn’t get paid for e-visits. He sees communicating with patients online as no different from phoning them, a practice that also is not billable.

How hard would it be for physician offices and hospitals to set up an auto-response message that delivers the usual disclaimers, e.g. disavowing email communication for time-sensitive and critical conditions and such? It’s not brain surgery — presumably one of the conditions that these docs wouldn’t want to diagnose via their Outlook inbox…

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/23/2008 02:22:16 PM
Category: Internet, Society
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