Voicemail recedes in physician-patient communication, replaced by new channels

The death of voicemail has hit healthcare, according to The Atlantic.

In an essay last week, writer Maya Kachroo-Levine noted the change at her own physician's office, which emailed her a message to use an online portal to access results from the physician.

"All things considered, the whole process was pretty painless, at least compared to what I was used to. It was certainly more abrupt than a phone call, but that's also what made it so much easier — no days spent playing phone tag with the doctor's office, or frantically looking around for a private place to take the call when the number popped up on my screen," she wrote.

Instead of voicemail, Ms. Kachroo-Levine wrote, patients are increasingly using online portals, email and texting to communicate with their physicians and providers. She uses Kaiser Permanente's comprehensive online portal as an example. The Oakland, Calif.-based health system had 4.89 million users on its online portal last year, which allows patients to see their medical history, request medication refills and ask physicians questions, among other capabilities, according to the report. Many smaller practices are using texting as well, to provide an easy, tangible channel of communication, according to the report.


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