Patients want to e-mail physicians, says Kaiser

July 27, 2007

Despite national surveys showing that the majority of patients want to go online with their physicians, some doctors who have offered patients that option say that few are interested.

Despite national surveys showing that the majority of patients want to go online with their physicians, some doctors who have offered patients that option say that few are interested. But a recent Kaiser Permanente study shows that 1.4 million of the HMO's 8.7 million members have elected to use Kaiser's secure e-mail system for a variety of purposes, including appointment requests and online consultations.

Patients who use Kaiser's online services are 7 to 10 percent less likely to schedule an office visit than those who don't, and they make 14 percent fewer phone calls to Kaiser practices, the study shows. So besides increasing convenience, the e-mail system appears to be taking some pressure off of the offices, as well.