E-Mail Enhances Communication With and Access to Pediatrician for Patients and Families

This featured profile is available on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Health
Care Innovations Exchange Web site. A pediatric subspecialist offered the families of his
patients the opportunity to contact him via e-mail, with formal guidelines established with
respect to the appropriate use of the system (e.g., content, length, response time). More than 90
percent of families offered the service enrolled, with approximately 40 percent using the service
during a 2-year period. Families using the service reported enhanced communication with and
access to the pediatrician. The physician found that use of the e-mail service saved him time
versus answering the same inquiries via telephone. In addition, over time, the program has
engaged more teenagers to contact the doctor directly using electronic communication.

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