Parents want email access to pediatricians

About half of the parents who participated in a national survey said they would like electronic communications via email and online portals with their children’s pediatricians, according to a national survey.

The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital national poll on children’s health found that 55 percent of the 1,612 parents surveyed said they would like access to their kids’ immunization records or to obtain prescription refills electronically. And nearly half, 47 percent would like to get advice regarding minor illnesses via email or other mode of electronic communications. The survey found two in five parents would like to be able to set up appointments electronically.

Yet, fewer than 10 percent of the parents said they could currently accomplish administrative tasks electronically and fewer than 15 percent said they could use electronic communication for clinical tasks such as getting advice or refilling prescriptions.

Matthew Davis, a physician and director of the poll from the University of Michigan Medical School, said some health care providers are concerned about being paid to provide such electronic services because they require staff time and there are also issues related to medical malpractice.

Still, Davis said, “given the strong endorsement for these electronic communications from this national sample of patients, significant efforts should be made to address these challenges. … The obvious advantages of electronic medical records – efficiency, clarity, documentation – are the same reasons why we should work to make e-communications available for our patients and families.”

Click on these links for more information: the report, the survey questions, and the figures.