Study: Do patients want to receive emails from their provider?

A study in Journal of Medical Internet Research: Medical Informatics investigated patients' attitudes toward receiving health-related emails from their providers.

The researchers — led by Puneet Seth, MD, of Western University and Woodstock General Hospital, both in Ontario, Canada — identified 624 primary healthcare patients at least 16 years of age or older. They asked participants to complete a one-page survey about their attitudes toward email communication with their provider as it relates to access to care, convenience and patient satisfaction.

The majority of respondents (73.2 percent) said they would be willing to have their healthcare provider contact them via email. Interestingly, respondents who check their email less frequently (fewer than every three days) were more likely to want to engage with their providers over email, while those who frequently check their personal email were less likely to want to be contacted via email.

"Online applications, including email, are emerging as a viable avenue for patient communication," the researchers concluded. "When following best practices and appropriate guidelines, healthcare providers can use this resource to enhance patient-provider communication in their clinical work, ultimately leading to improved health outcomes and satisfaction with care among their patients."

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