These results, from the first large randomized, controlled study of e-mail communication between physicians and patients, will be presented on May 4 by researchers from the University of Michigan Health System at the annual meeting of the Society for General Internal Medicine.
The e-mail study was funded by Intel Corporation and performed by members of the UMHS Consortium for Health Outcomes, Innovation, and Cost Effectiveness Studies (CHOICES). Among other findings, it showed that the messages from patients that got through the system to the doctors were appropriate ones that the doctors needed to see or answer, such as patients updates on their condition, questions about their health, and prescription and referral requests.
Now, the same researchers have expanded their study to the World Wide Web, through grants from Intel and the U-M Medical School to develop and implement a web portal developed by UMHS, Intel and McKesson Information Solutions. Final results from that study arent yet available, but already 1,300 patients of 130 U-M physicians have registered, and the system has received 1,600 messages to schedule appointments, renew prescriptions, request referrals, read health information tailored to their needs, and ask health questions.
Medicine has lagged behind the rest of the world in using e-mail and the web to communicate important, time-sensitive information and conduct transactions, but the concerns that have held us back seem to decrease when we provide a framework for this kind of interaction, says Steven Katz, M.D., MPH, director of the study and an as
Contact: Kara Gavin
University of Michigan Health System