Patients favor secure email over social media for medical consultations

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Consumers reject the idea of using social media to consult with their physician, according to a recent study. But many patients would be willing to use secure messaging to go online with their doctors, another survey reveals.

In a Capstrat-Public Policy Polling survey, 84 percent of respondents said they wouldn't use social media or instant messaging to communicate with their physicians if it were available to them. Even among people 18 to 29 years of age -- the so-called millennial generation, for whom social media are especially important -- only 21 percent were interested in using media like Twitter or Facebook to interact with their doctors. But the majority of respondents were interested in making doctor appointments, accessing medical records, and consulting with nurses online.

In another recent survey conducted by Intuit, three-quarters of the respondents said they'd like to have an online connection to their doctor's office. About the same percentage of those polled said they would be willing to use a secure online platform to access their medical history and share data with their physician.

Up to now, most doctors have been reluctant to connect online with patients because of lack of reimbursement, fear of malpractice suits, and concerns about being overwhelmed by e-mail. The liability issue -- along with HIPAA privacy concerns -- might be even greater when doctors use social media.

Yet many hospitals are forging ahead with social media programs, and some are even training their employed doctors to use these outlets to communicate with patients and promote their practices.

 

To learn more:

--Read the Information Week article

--See the Healthcare IT News piece

--Check out the Capstrat-Public Policy Polling survey results

--See the Intuit press release

 

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