Online Communications: Secure messaging could reduce your malpractice premium

March 28, 2008

Think communicating with patients online is risky? One risk-minded malpractice carrier will lower your bill if you do.

Think communicating with patients online is risky? One risk-minded malpractice carrier will lower your bill if you do.

The company, Northwest Physicians Insurance, discounts premiums for doctors that use iHealth, a set of online services that include a practice website, a personal health record for patients, and secure messaging, which is encrypted and password-protected, unlike regular e-mail. With secure messaging from iHealth, patients can receive lab results and automated messages about FDA drug recalls and warnings, request prescription renewals and appointments, and ask questions about non-urgent clinical issues. iHealth is offered by Medem, an IT company formed by the AMA and several other medical societies.

Doctors who implement these iHealth services receive patient safety points from Northwest Physicians Insurance that translate into annual premium savings of $375 to $2,250, depending on a doctor’s specialty. Northwest Physician insurees can purchase iHealth for $295 a year, $100 off the regular price.

A press release from the insurance company and Medem quotes a Northwest Physicians executive as saying that improved doctor-patient communication can ultimately contribute to “reduced professional liability.”

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