Effects of Physician-Patient Electronic Communications on the Quality of Care

Effects of Physician-Patient Electronic Communications on the Quality of Care

Shima Tabatabai (Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/ijrqeh.2013040105
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The article summarizes evidence about the effectiveness of patient–physician electronic communication. The emphasis was on the importance of understanding the potential impact of e-communication on patient satisfaction, and on the quality of health care. A review of literature was performed in the area of patient–physician electronic communication, and references were appraised, and synthesized for an overview of benefits and challenges of this model of communication. Electronic communication is becoming popular, has the potential to transform the health care system, and support the patient–physician interaction. Patients are enthusiastic about this convenience model of communication, and feel strongly embraced in communicating via email & web messaging. Although, there is evidence that electronic communication could increase quality of care due to increased interaction and would extend health care efficiency, a variety of potential benefits and challenges is reported. Overall, electronic communication introduces a new model of patient-physician interaction that could supplement and reasonably replace a portion of traditional face-to-face encounters. However, further investigation is required to assess its impact on healthcare process efficiency.
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A number of studies have assessed the effects of internet-based communication tools on the physician-patient relationship (Liderman, 2003; Oh et al., 2005). Moreover, previous studies of Internet-based patient-provider communication include a randomized controlled trial (Katz et al., 2004) and four descriptive studies (Liederman & Morefield, 2003; Sittig, King, Hazelhurst, 2001; Kleiner et al., 2002; Moyer et al., 2002). These studies showed that online messaging between patients and physicians was a powerful means of communication that was well accepted by patients, but it was infrequently used by physicians. However, many of the studies suggest that there is a need for more comprehensive understanding of costs and benefits.

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