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Low-income patients interested in e-communication

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 11, 2013

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Many low-income patients say they would like to communicate electronically with their physicians but are unable to do so because of insufficient technology at their physicians’ practices.

A study in the February issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine surveyd 416 patients from six San Francisco Dept. of Public Health community clinics that serve primarily uninsured or publicly insured patients. Of those patients, 71% expressed interest in electronic communication with their physicians’ offices. Sixty percent said they use e-mail, but only 19% said they use e-mail to communicate with their doctors. More than half say they use the Internet to find health care information (link).

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, said many safety-net clinics do not offer patient portals or secure messaging with physicians. Most of the patients agreed that electronic communication would improve efficiency and overall communication with clinicians.

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