I agree it sure beats phone tag....Microsoft employees were also part of of a test pilot program to allow their employees to log in to a web site to communicate and ask questions with their physicians....according to the study, email did decrease phone calls and patient visits, but not enough to give a significant drop to the bottom line...BD
For the past year, Roy Peacock has been having an e-mail relationship with his doctor. First it was just a casual hello to get acquainted. Then, after a couple of visits to his doctor's office, Peacock, a minister at Preston Baptist Church in Preston, began receiving e-mails about his blood-test results, encouragement as he waited for other results and changes to his blood pressure medication as his diet and exercise habits lowered his numbers.
Since 2000, Group Health has offered its patients full online access to physicians through secure and private e-mail. The online services are available at no additional charge to members and are part of the premium paid to be a part of the health plan.
Seaver, who specializes in family medicine at Group Health's Factoria Medical Center in Bellevue, said e-mail eliminates playing phone tag with patients. He had 200 e-mail interactions with patients last month, accounting for nearly half of all of his patient interactions, he said. He routinely e-mails patients with a detailed explanation of lab results, treatment recommendations and follow-up plans, he said.
The hospital partnered with Premera and Microsoft to conduct an 18-month pilot program, which ended in June. More than 2,000 Microsoft employees logged onto a Web site and were able to describe symptoms and ask questions and receive answers.