Parents to doctors: Send e-mail

May 18, 2010 at 12:29 AM   |   Comments

ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 18 (UPI) -- Fifty percent of U.S. parents say they welcome e-communications with their child's doctor, a U.S. survey indicates.

However, researchers at the University of Michigan Health System report many physicians are reluctant to use e-communications.

Dr. Matthew Davis, director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, says less than 15 percent of parents report they are currently able to use e-mail or the Internet to schedule appointments, receive immunization or lab records, complete screening forms, or request prescription refills.

"Some healthcare providers have expressed concerns about reimbursement for electronic services that require staff time. Others worry about medical liability associated with offering clinical advice via e-mail or the Internet, without examining the patient," Davis says in a statement. "However, given the strong endorsement for electronic communication from this national sample of parents, significant efforts should be made to address these challenges."

The survey, involving 1,612 parents of children up to age 17 across the country and conducted by Knowledge Networks, was administered in January to a randomly selected, stratified group resembling the U.S. population. The margin of error was 1 percentage point to 4 percentage points.

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