High-tech Health Tools

By Health Day

..would you end up making fewer office visits?

While most people would think so...a new study suggests the exact opposite is true. Researchers in Colorado found when patients had high-tech access, it actually triggered them to call or visit the office more often.

The study, just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, focused on more than 500,000 health insurance members in Colorado over a recent five-year period. The researchers looked at office visits, telephone calls, after-hours clinic visits, emergency department trips, and hospitalizations between members with and without online access to the health care provider's patient portal.

Members with online access had 16 percent more office visits and 8 percent more telephone calls per year after signing up for the service. In contrast, members without access had 8 percent fewer clinic visits and no change in telephone calls over the course of the study

ÒIt's helping me incorporate my doctor's opinion in health choices that I would be making ordinarily by myself.

While this study found an association between a patient's use of these online tools and an increase in clinical services, it did not determine or examine the reasons behind the increase. The theory is that with more access, more questions arise, especially with chronic conditions.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the information you need to protect your health.

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