Survey: Texting between patients and doctors not common

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While text messages and email have nearly replaced traditional phone and face-to-face communication, a survey recently conducted for The Atlantic determined that of 1,000 Americans, only one in 10 has ever emailed or texted with their doctor.

According to the article accompanying the survey, confidentiality could be one reason so few have used such communication methods, as could a lack of technology on the part of the doctor.

Just because most Americans haven't emailed or texted with their doctors, though, doesn't mean that they don't want to do so. Last month, researchers from the University of California San Francisco found that a significant majority of uninsured and underinsured patients use texting and email, and would like to use it for healthcare services, as well.

Surveying 416 patients of public health clinics in San Francisco, 78 percent expressed interest in using electronic communication for health management.

The survey's findings showed that those considered wealthy (those who earned $125,000 annually) and those in rural settings would be most willing to pay to consult doctors via text or email.

Text messages have been a boon to doctors looking to help patients with everything from dealing with chemotherapy side effects to medication adherence. Park Nicollet Health Service in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, has even used text messaging to identify how patients feel about their hospital stay, and to track down the source of any unpleasant experiences.

The Atlantic's survey also found that only one-third of those surveyed have ever looked up their symptoms or conditions online; for those that have, MayoClinic, WebMD and Google were among the top sites.

Additionally, the survey determined that online health resources are used by most Americans to learn about a health issue affecting a friend or family member. 

To learn more:
- read the article from The Atlantic

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