Publication Date: November 2001

Publisher: California HealthCare Foundation

Author(s): Keith MacDonald; Joanna Case; Jane Metzger

Research Area: Health

Type: Report


Use of the Internet by the American public and by physicians is increasing. At the same time, the health care industry is being pressed to find more affordable, convenient, and accessible means to provide care. The convergence of these developments provides fertile ground for the growth of Web-based communication between patients and their providers. Early experience points to a wide range of potential benefits for participants, such as improved access to medical advice and greater efficiencies for practitioners. This report serves as an information resource for organizations looking into or actively engaged in Web-based physician-patient communication. It introduces the possible forms that these exchanges can take, reviews the state of the practice, and offers practical advice from early adopters. The report is based on information gathered from the latest literature, a review of vendor products and approaches, and interviews with vendor staff, project managers, and physician users. Because at the time this report was published there was little formal research on the subject of e-encounters, much of the information provided is necessarily anecdotal.