Many lower-income patients say they would like to communicate electronically with their health care providers but are unable to do so because of insufficient technology at the clinics where they receive care, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Medical News Today reports.
The study found that:
- 78% of the study participants expressed interest in electronic communication with their health care providers (Martinez, “On Central,” KPCC, 2/27);
- 60% said they use email;
- 54% said they obtain information from the Internet; and
- 17% said they already use email to communicate informally with their health care providers.
Adam Schickedanz — lead study author and medical resident at the UCSF Department of Pediatrics — said, “Our work makes it clear that lower-income patients from a wide variety of backgrounds want to be part of the health information technology revolution.” Schickedanz added, “The question is whether they will be afforded the opportunities to take part in the same way as their middle- and higher-income peers.”
Urmimala Sarkar — senior author and assistant professor of medicine with the UCSF Department of Medicine — said, “Electronic health-related communication is becoming the standard of care in well-resourced settings, and should be implemented and supported in resource-poor settings.”
The researchers recommended that future research examine preferences among diverse patient populations for electronically communicating with health care providers. They noted that such research might look at the benefits of tailoring existing communications systems to specific languages and literacy levels (Medical News Today, 2/27).
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