Most recent posts

  XML Feeds


« Putting Family Doc First Good For Health And WalletEmployee Survey Reveals Personal Health Misperceptions, Benefits Of CDHPs »

Study Examines Effectiveness Of Online Doctor Visits


  05:55:07 pm, by MedBen5   , 228 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Study Examines Effectiveness Of Online Doctor Visits

As more Americans have grown comfortable sharing personal information over the Internet, the medical profession is testing the waters a bit. Some physician’s offices now offer “e-visits", in which patients complete online forms and a doctor or nurse respond with treatment advice.

Convenient, to be sure. But is it effective? A recent study suggests it is, though the findings do raise some concerns.

According to Reuters
, researchers compared all e-visits and office visits for sinus infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs) at four primary care practices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, between January 2010 and May 2011. Out of 8,000 visits, 90% were office visits.

The study determined that the proportion of follow-up visits (7%) within three weeks was the same regardless of whether the doctor saw the patient in person or not. But people with both conditions who had e-visits were more likely to be precribed antibiotics – and practially all UTI e-visit patients received an antibiotic, compared to just half of office visit patients.

“There are several potential advantages of e-visits, including convenience and efficiency (avoiding travel and time), and lower costs,” wrote author Ateev Mehrotra from the RAND Corporation and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues.

But Mehrotra added that the difference in prescribing is a concern, especially since over-prescription of antibiotics is tied to drug resistance. “That is something we really need to be careful about and watch for.”

No feedback yet