Physician's Money Digest, July31 2003, Volume 10, Issue 14

The latest survey on how physiciansuse e-mail has some bad newsfor patients who'd like to be able tointeract with their physicians online.The survey, conducted by ManhattanResearch, shows that the number ofdoctors who use e-mail to communicatewith their patients fell to 19%over the past year. On the flipside,two thirds of the doctors in the surveysay they would use e-mail tointeract with patients if they werereimbursed for their time. Reimbursement,according to some industryobservers, is a real stumblingblock to doctor/patient e-mail, althougha small number of healthplans now pay doctors for online consultations.In a California pilot program,where doctors are being paid$20 to $25 for an online visit andpatients pick up a $5 or $10 copay,spending on office visits has been cutby almost $2 per patient, per month.