Health Information Technology
Electronic health record systems with secure messaging can reduce patients' primary care office visits and care-related telephone calls, a study in the American Journal of Managed Care found.
The study tracked patients using Kaiser Permanente's KP HealthConnect Online system with patient-physician secure messaging. Researchers found that:
- Annual outpatient primary care visits decreased by 6.7%;
- Telephone contacts increased by 16.2% compared with a 29.9% increase for the control group;
- 25% of users who completed a questionnaire said they would have scheduled an in-person visit if electronic messaging was not available; and
- 70% of sessions among 1,000 users resulted in patient-physician messaging.
The authors conclude that the messaging system could help improve efficiency and access for patients and health care providers, especially for organizations such as Kaiser that rely on capitation as a means of payment (Zhou et al., American Journal of Managed Care, July 2007). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.