Patients want to contact doctors via social media

Washington DC, Jun 25 (ANI): A new survey has revealed that many Internet-savvy Americans want to be able to email or send Facebook messages to their doctors to chat about their health.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s study show that the respondents are very interested in using email and Facebook to communicate with their physicians, and to manage their health. Six months prior to the survey, 37 percent of patients did, in fact, contact their doctors via email and another 18 percent through Facebook.

Team leader Joy Lee says that the latter finding is notable, as most institutions actively discourage social media contact with individual patients, due to privacy and liability concerns.

Non-white respondents, people younger than 45 years old and those with a higher income are more likely to make electronic contact with their doctors. It is also true for those taking care of others, and patients with chronic health conditions.

College graduates are more likely than others to use Facebook to communicate with their physicians, while people with lower education levels and income do not opt for correspondence by email.

The survey also shows that up to 57 percent of patients want to use their physicians’ websites to access health information. Around 46 percent of patients want to be able to use email to track their health progress and access health information.

The findings highlight the gap between patient interest for online communication and what physicians may currently provide, noted Lee, adding that improving and accelerating the adoption of secure web-messaging systems is a possible solution that addresses both institutional concerns and patient demand.

The study appears in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. (ANI)

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