Tags

Type your tag names separated by a space and hit enter

A content analysis of e-mail communication between primary care providers and parents.
Pediatrics. 2005 May; 115(5):1283-8.Ped

Abstract

BACKGROUND

E-mail exchange between parents of patients and providers has been cited by the Institute of Medicine as an important aspect of contemporary medicine; however, we are unaware of any data describing actual exchanges.

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the content of e-mails between providers and parents of patients in pediatric primary care, as well as parent attitudes about e-mail.

DESIGN/METHODS

Over a 6-week period, all e-mail exchanges between 2 primary care pediatricians and their patients' parents were evaluated and coded. An exchange was defined as the e-mails between parent and primary care provider about a single inquiry. Parents also completed a questionnaire regarding this service.

RESULTS

Of 55 parents, 54 (98%) agreed to have their e-mails with their pediatrician reviewed. The 54 parents generated 81 e-mail exchanges; 86% required only 1 e-mail response from the pediatrician, and the other 14% required an average of 1.9 responses. E-mail inquiries were all for nonacute issues (as judged by S.G.A.) and included inquiries about a medical question (n = 43), medical update (n = 20), subspecialty evaluation (n = 9), and administrative issue (n = 9). The 81 exchanges resulted in 9 appointments, 21 phone calls, 4 subspecialty referrals, 34 prescriptions or recommendations for over-the-counter medications, 11 administrative tasks, and 1 radiograph. Of 91 pediatrician-generated e-mails, 39% were sent during the workday (9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday), 44% were sent on weeknights, and 17% were sent on weekends. During the study period, the 2 physicians estimated an average of 30 minutes/day spent responding to e-mail. Of the 54 parents, 45 (83%) returned the survey; 93% were mothers and 86% had completed college. Ninety-eight percent were very satisfied with their e-mail experience with their pediatrician. Although 80% felt that all pediatricians should use e-mail to communicate with parents and 65% stated they would be more likely to choose a pediatrician based on access by e-mail, 63% were unwilling to pay for access.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first study to describe actual e-mail exchange between parents and their providers. Exchanges seem to be different from those generated by the telephone, with more e-mails related to medical versus administrative issues and more resulting in office visits. Approximately 1 in 4 exchanges result in multiple e-mails back and forth between parent and provider. Parents who have actually exchanged e-mails with their providers overwhelmingly endorse it, although they are reluctant to pay for it.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Division of General Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. shikha.anand@bmc.orgNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

15867036

Citation

Anand, Shikha G., et al. "A Content Analysis of E-mail Communication Between Primary Care Providers and Parents." Pediatrics, vol. 115, no. 5, 2005, pp. 1283-8.
Anand SG, Feldman MJ, Geller DS, et al. A content analysis of e-mail communication between primary care providers and parents. Pediatrics. 2005;115(5):1283-8.
Anand, S. G., Feldman, M. J., Geller, D. S., Bisbee, A., & Bauchner, H. (2005). A content analysis of e-mail communication between primary care providers and parents. Pediatrics, 115(5), 1283-8.
Anand SG, et al. A Content Analysis of E-mail Communication Between Primary Care Providers and Parents. Pediatrics. 2005;115(5):1283-8. PubMed PMID: 15867036.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - A content analysis of e-mail communication between primary care providers and parents. AU - Anand,Shikha G, AU - Feldman,Mitchell J, AU - Geller,David S, AU - Bisbee,Alice, AU - Bauchner,Howard, PY - 2005/5/4/pubmed PY - 2005/9/28/medline PY - 2005/5/4/entrez SP - 1283 EP - 8 JF - Pediatrics JO - Pediatrics VL - 115 IS - 5 N2 - BACKGROUND: E-mail exchange between parents of patients and providers has been cited by the Institute of Medicine as an important aspect of contemporary medicine; however, we are unaware of any data describing actual exchanges. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the content of e-mails between providers and parents of patients in pediatric primary care, as well as parent attitudes about e-mail. DESIGN/METHODS: Over a 6-week period, all e-mail exchanges between 2 primary care pediatricians and their patients' parents were evaluated and coded. An exchange was defined as the e-mails between parent and primary care provider about a single inquiry. Parents also completed a questionnaire regarding this service. RESULTS: Of 55 parents, 54 (98%) agreed to have their e-mails with their pediatrician reviewed. The 54 parents generated 81 e-mail exchanges; 86% required only 1 e-mail response from the pediatrician, and the other 14% required an average of 1.9 responses. E-mail inquiries were all for nonacute issues (as judged by S.G.A.) and included inquiries about a medical question (n = 43), medical update (n = 20), subspecialty evaluation (n = 9), and administrative issue (n = 9). The 81 exchanges resulted in 9 appointments, 21 phone calls, 4 subspecialty referrals, 34 prescriptions or recommendations for over-the-counter medications, 11 administrative tasks, and 1 radiograph. Of 91 pediatrician-generated e-mails, 39% were sent during the workday (9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday), 44% were sent on weeknights, and 17% were sent on weekends. During the study period, the 2 physicians estimated an average of 30 minutes/day spent responding to e-mail. Of the 54 parents, 45 (83%) returned the survey; 93% were mothers and 86% had completed college. Ninety-eight percent were very satisfied with their e-mail experience with their pediatrician. Although 80% felt that all pediatricians should use e-mail to communicate with parents and 65% stated they would be more likely to choose a pediatrician based on access by e-mail, 63% were unwilling to pay for access. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to describe actual e-mail exchange between parents and their providers. Exchanges seem to be different from those generated by the telephone, with more e-mails related to medical versus administrative issues and more resulting in office visits. Approximately 1 in 4 exchanges result in multiple e-mails back and forth between parent and provider. Parents who have actually exchanged e-mails with their providers overwhelmingly endorse it, although they are reluctant to pay for it. SN - 1098-4275 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/15867036/A_content_analysis_of_e_mail_communication_between_primary_care_providers_and_parents_ L2 - http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=15867036 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -