Billing for MyChart has not solved physicians' excessive email problem

Hospitals and health systems around the U.S. began charging for patient messages sent through patient portals as their clinicians became inundated with 50 percent more messages after the pandemic, but the charges haven't necessarily stopped the influx of messages, NPR reported July 21.  

"Physicians who receive a ton of portal messages tend to report being burned out, tend to report being more cynical about their job, tend to report that they are thinking about leaving clinical practice," said Jay Holmgren, researcher for healthcare IT at the University of California San Francisco. 

These reasons caused health systems such as Cleveland Clinic, Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine and Seattle-based UW Medicine to begin billing for messages sent via MyChart to ensure physicians could be compensated for their work and to deter patients from excessive emailing. But the charges haven't stopped these issues, according to NPR

Mr. Holmgren's research shows that physicians only bill for about 3 percent of messages they receive and are still receiving a high volume of emails, with the fees having only led to a 2 percent decline in the number of messages.

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