Data Graphic: Patient-Physician E-mail improves care

When I decided to toss most of the slides I was going to show at the Consumer Health Congress in Washington, DC, I knew that I would be able to share that information here, in the social media world, where the conversation never ends.

Here is some impressive data regarding the impact of patient-physician e-mail.


Technology does not replace us…

We use it to improve the care we provide

Key points:

  • People ultimately rely on health professionals as their primary source of health information. Therefore, “getting information online” and “getting information from your doctor” should not be considered mutually exclusive (and surveys should not present this dichotomy – I have good information that @SusannahFox is totally on top of this :))
  • At a place where patients get information from their doctor AND online, Kaiser Permanente, you can see a significant improvement in blood pressure control on the part of patients who did e-mail their doctor versus those that didn’t.

This data comes from the online appendix to this study published in Health Affairs in July. I decided to pull out blood pressure specifically, but you can see from the article that overall this was the case with all of the quality measures studied (with a nod to the nice people at Health Affairs who allowed me to leave the table in after I published it before checking with them – at least I am easy to train).

All of this put together is, kind of huge. A condition that affects 1/3 of American adults, is accountable for 27 % of CVD events in women, 37 % of CVD events in men, is the #1 reason for physician office visits in the United States, can be managed by patients and physicians together, with the help of electronic systems that provide information online WITH (not instead of) from doctors and nurses.

At this point in the presentation, when the audience might be thinking, “Kaiser Permanente can do that, I can’t,” I would show this slide. And I believe it. Enjoy.

And you will, too.

Ted Eytan, MD