PatientSite: Patient-Centered Communication, Services, and Access to Information [chapter]

Daniel Z. Sands, John D. Halamka
2004 Health Informatics Series  
Healthcare providers are not meeting the needs of online consumers. Over half the U.S. population is currently online and the place they turn for health information, after their doctors, is the Internet 1 ( Fig. 2.1 ). In another survey, Internet users were almost as likely to turn to the Internet for healthcare information as they were their physician. 2 Although 45% of online consumers would like to communicate with their physicians using e-mail, only 6% have done so. 1 Similar proportions of
more » ... ilar proportions of people have and would like to access a provider Web site ( Fig. 2. 2). Moreover, almost half of consumers who would like to do so would be willing to switch providers to find one who offered these services. 1 The proportion of those who have gone online to look for health information is 66% to 78% of those who have used the Internet, and that number is growing annually. 2, 3 Online health consumers want the same kind of convenience they expect from other businesses today. They want to be able to communicate by e-mail, get information, and conduct transactions conveniently. In surveys, consumers consistently tell us the types of things they would like to do online: consult with their physicians about medical issues, refill their prescriptions, make appointments, look up their test results, and find information about health problems. 1,4 Healthcare Consumer Needs Communication Although there are many channels available for patient-provider communication, including in-person interaction, telephone, fax, and page, patientprovider interactions are generally restricted to appointments and telephone calls. Because both of these are synchronous communication channels, busy patients and overbooked providers have difficulty making contact. As most of the world gravitates toward asynchronous electronic communication for nonurgent communication, it seems clear that electronic patient-centered com-
doi:10.1007/978-1-4757-3920-6_2 fatcat:rlrtjjminvazpjuzrxu5s7jiqa