Health insurance company Kaiser Permanente announced earlier this month that it had completed a study into communication between doctors and patients, finding that secure e-mail messaging helped keep care effectiveness high for patients with hypertension or diabetes.
George Halvorson, Kaiser Permanente’s chairman and CEO, said that “putting patients and their data at the center of care allows Kaiser Permanente to improve health care quality, access and cost. This data proves that health IT can be a fundamental component of accomplishing those three critical goals.”
The study found that some of the most common reasons for patients to email their doctors using Kaiser Permanente’s secure system were changes in their health condition, consultation on a treatment plan, lab test results, and drug advice. Kaiser Permanente says that other research has found that patients with this kind of access to electronic communication with their physicians are less likely to schedule office visits or contact them by telephone.
Health insurance costs were at the center of the recent debate over healthcare reform, and some Americans are unsure whether the new laws will have a positive or negative effect on their premiums.