It's No LOL: Few US Doctors Answer E-mails From Patients

Publication: Boston Globe

Author: Alicia Chang


04/22/2008 - Suzanne Kreuziger is a registered nurse who uses e-mail almost exclusively to communicate with friends. But when it comes to reaching her doctor, there's a frustrating firewall.

The barrier is her doctor's own reluctance to talk to patients through e-mail.

"It makes sense to me to have the words laid out, to be able to re-read, to go back to it at a convenient time," the 34-year-old Milwaukee woman recently wrote on a social networking site. "If I were able to ask my physician questions this way, it would make my own health care much easier."

Kreuziger's experience is shared by most Americans: They want the convenience of e-mail for non-urgent medical issues, but fewer than a third of U.S. doctors use e-mail to communicate with patients, according to recent physician surveys.

"People are able to file their taxes online, buy and sell household goods, and manage their financial accounts," said Susannah Fox of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. "The health care industry seems to be lagging behind other industries."

Read the full article Few US Doctors Answer E-mails From Patients on the Boston Globe's Web site.

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