A study published in The American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) found that patients with higher out-of-pocket visit costs, such as co-payments and deductibles, initiated provider contact by e-mail more often. Patients report that e-mailing changed their care-seeking behaviors and improved overall health. The Kaiser Permanente study sought to understand when patients use secure e-mail messaging with healthcare providers across several types of questions or concerns, associations between out-of-pocket costs for in-person visits and use of secure messaging, and to examine patient-reported impacts on care-seeking behavior and overall health. The findings showed that patients reported using e-mail broadly to initiate conversations with their providers, and patients with higher out-of-pocket costs for in-person visits were more likely to choose e-mail as a first contact method. Use of secure e-mails reduced patients’ use of other types of healthcare and resulted in improved overall health.
Read full study: Patient-Initiated E-mails to Providers: Associations With Out-of-Pocket Visit Costs, and Impact on Care-Seeking and Health