Monday, October 09, 2006

Take Two Aspirins, and Email me in the Morning...

Well, health care transparency isn't the only thing that Minnesota BX is up to:
A patient simply emails his questions (or concerns) to the doc, who then responds via email. This cuts down on wait times for appointments, and the patient gets a quicker response. Folks who are out of town (on business or vacation, for example) can still "consult" with their preferred doctor, and not have to sit on hold or play phone tag.
That's the good news. The bad news (if it can really be classified as such) is that only about 25% of doc's have bought into this concept, and consumers aren't exactly knocking down the (virtual) door to participate, either. Part of the problem was that physicians couldn't charge for their email consults, which would tend to discourage widespread adoption of the practice. Once carriers start reimbursing for them, that should change (eventually).
This seems to me to be tailor-made for CDHP (Consumer Driven Health Plans): after all, the idea is to empower the patient to make informed decisions about his health care. What better way than electronic communication?
Very cool.
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