Electronic health communications often unavilable to lower income patients
Lower-income patients want to communicate electronically with their doctors, but the revolution in health care technology often is not accessible to them, due to inadequate health information services within the health care clinics they frequent, according to a survey by UC San Francisco researchers.
Increasing numbers of health care systems are offering online services to patients in order to manage care outside of office visits, and this often includes the ability for patients to communicate electronically with health care providers.
The UCSF research team found that a significant majority of uninsured and underinsured patients currently use email, text messaging, and the Internet in their everyday lives and would like to extend that to their health care, but the "safety net" clinics they use generally do not offer the necessary patient portal or secure messaging to support this communication.
"Electronic health-related communication is becoming the standard of care in well-resourced settings, and should be implemented and supported in resource-poor settings," said senior author Urmimala Sarkar, MD, MPH, who is an assistant professor of medicine with the UCSF Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, and the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.
The analysis is reported online today in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The study surveyed 416 patients seen in six San Francisco Department of Public Health community clinics serving primarily uninsured and publicly insured patients. Participants were ethnically and racially diverse, low-income, spoke twenty-four different primary languages and were generally representative of the overall clinic network population. Fifty-four percent said they obtained general information from the Internet.
While 17 percent of patients currently reported using email informally with health providers as a part of their care, the vast majority (78%) of respondents expressed interest in electronic communication. In addition, 60 percent of those surveyed were current email users, suggesting that the majority of vulnerable patients served in these clinics already had both some level of computer access and Internet skills.
Although a recent national study suggested that three-fourths of patients were interested in such electronic communication, there has been little research to understand interest among lower income patients, such as those receiving care at public clinics, as these patients are somewhat less likely to have access to computers and/or the Internet.
"Patients were largely in favor of using email technology for health and agreed it would likely improve overall clinical communication and efficiency," said lead author Adam Schickedanz, MD, a medical resident in the UCSF Department of Pediatrics. "Our work makes it clear that lower income patients from a wide variety of backgrounds want to be part of the health information technology revolution.
"The question is whether they will be afforded the opportunities to take part in the same way as their middle and higher-income peers," he said.
According to researchers, future research should aim to understand diverse patient preferences for ultimately engaging in electronic communication with providers, including additional tailoring of existing systems to support language- and literacy-appropriate access.
More information: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11606-012-2329-5
Journal reference: Journal of General Internal Medicine
Provided by University of California, San Francisco
- Communication is key to medication adherence Jan 02, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
- UCSF team focuses on patient safety in ambulatory care system Jul 28, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Free clinics fill gaps in health safety net, survey finds Jun 14, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Study finds continuous health coverage essential for patients managing diabetes Jan 04, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Free clinics reduce emergency department visits Jan 23, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Calorie information in fast food restaurants used by 40 percent of 9-18 year olds when making food choices
A new study published online today (Thursday) in the Journal of Public Health has found that of young people who visited fast food or chain restaurants in the U.S. in 2010, girls and youth who were obese were more likely ...
Health 8 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—Implementation of systematic monitoring for medication adherence will allow for identification of barriers to adherence and tailoring of interventions, according to a viewpoint piece published ...
Health 10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(AP)—The Obama administration says more doctors and hospitals are embracing technology as adoption of computerized medical records reaches a "tipping point" in America.
Health 11 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Johns Hopkins researchers report that hospitals may be reaping enormous income for patients whose hospital stays are complicated by preventable bloodstream infections contracted in their intensive care units.
Health 12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A University of Illinois researcher says that the cornerstone of our efforts to alleviate food insecurity should be to encourage more people to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) "because ...
Health 12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Swiss scientists reveal the mechanism responsible for aging hidden deep within mitochondria—and dramatically slow it down in worms by administering antibiotics to the young.
15 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (7) | 0 |
Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London have led the largest sequencing study of human disease to date, investigating the genetic basis of six autoimmune diseases.
15 hours ago | 4.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Existing research shows that bicyclists who wear helmets have an 88 percent lower risk of brain injury, but researchers at Boston Children's Hospital found that simply having bicycle helmet laws in place showed a 20 percent ...
4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Until now, little was scientifically known about the human potential to cultivate compassion—the emotional state of caring for people who are suffering in a way that motivates altruistic behavior.
12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 2 |
(HealthDay)—Migraines and depression can each cause a great deal of suffering, but new research indicates the combination of the two may be linked to something else entirely—a smaller brain.
11 hours ago | 4 / 5 (2) | 0 |
A new approach for immunizing against influenza elicited a more potent immune response and broader protection than the currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines when tested in mice and ferrets. The vaccine ...
12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |