Why physicians don’t use email

Is email doomed to concierge practices only? Seems that way:

Some health plans have begun reimbursing doctors who interact with patients on specially created Web sites, but the numbers are still negligible. For the most part, doctors are not paid unless they see patients face to face.

In their offices, doctors are under constant pressure to curtail time spent with patients, said Marcy Zwelling-Aamot, an internist with a private practice and former president of the Los Angeles County Medical Association. The last thing most of them want is to give patients another way to get a hold of them.

“They don’t want to be bombarded,” said Zwelling-Aamot, who runs a concierge practice, meaning she doesn’t take insurance. Her patients pay her $1,500 a year for full access to her services, including e-mail consultation.

But “I have 500 patients,” she said. Other doctors may “have 3,000 patients.”


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