Online Patient-Provider Communication Tools: An Overview

First Consulting Group

This report offers physician practices a practical guide to choosing online communication tools through the successful experiences of others, descriptions of tools, and selection guidelines.

November 2003

Responding to growing patient interest in online communication, many physicians are overcoming resistance to electronic communication, but they are encountering complex choices when it comes to selecting the right tools for their practice.

As of 2003, case study examples of the effective use of stand-alone and integrated online messaging tools, developments in the reimbursement arena, and liability and privacy guidelines were leading more physician practices to consider communicating online with their patients. For practices that lacked office-based electronic medical record (EMR) or clinical systems, the use of stand-alone email tools was a cost-effective solution. Practices already using EMR or clinical information systems had several options from which to choose for integrating communication into these systems while streamlining office workflow.

Understanding the available options, the key dimensions that distinguished them, and the lessons learned by physician practices that had succeeded can help an office select an effective approach for patient-provider communication.

The complete report, published in 2003, is available under Document Downloads below.