Most U.S. Residents Prefer Doctors Who Email With Their Patients

June 4, 2014 in News

A majority of U.S. residents say they prefer physicians who offer email communication with their patients, according to a survey by Catalyst Healthcare Research, MobiHealthNews reports.

Study Details

For the study, researchers surveyed 433 U.S. residents over the age of 21 to gauge how they prefer to receive information from their health care providers. Respondents were split into four categories:

  • Generation Y, or those ages 21 to 33;
  • Generation X, or those ages 34 to 48;
  • Baby Boomers, or those ages 49 to 67; and
  • The Silent Generation, or those ages 68 and older.
  • The survey had a margin of error of 4.7%.

Study Findings

According to the survey, 93% of respondents said they prefer to see a physician who offers email communication with his or her patients. Of those respondents, one-quarter said they still would choose a doctor who offers email consultations, even if there is a $25 charge for such communication.

In addition, the survey found that:

  • 84% of respondents in the Baby Boomer group used the Internet to obtain medical or drug information;
  • 62% of respondents in the Generation Y group searched for physician information online; and
  • 41% of respondents in the Generation Y group looked for medical procedure costs online.

The survey also showed:

  • 44% of respondents were interested in paying medical bills online, including 55% of both the Generation Y and Generation X groups; and
  • 46% of respondents in the Generation X group were interested in viewing lab results online.

However, the survey found that 27% of all respondents said they preferred to schedule physician appointments online, compared with 67% who preferred to do so over the phone.

The survey also asked respondents about their preferred forms of physician communication outside of office hours. The survey found:

  • 14% of respondents were interested in a video chat program, such as Skype;
  • 57% were interested in dialing a number that offers a call-back feature; and
  • 30% desired a 24-hour phone number (Pai, MobiHealthNews, 6/3).
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