, Volume 28, Issue 7, p 952
Date: 09 Mar 2013

Capsule Commentary on Schickedanz et al.: Access, Interest, and Attitudes Toward Electronic Communication for Health Care Among Patients in the Medical Safety Net

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Understanding and testing whether emerging technologies can improve provider–patient communications is important. The acceptability and use of these technologies/tools in vulnerable populations is particularly vital, as it could help reduce disparities in health and healthcare access. Schickendanz et al.1 examined the use of electronic communications in six San Francisco public health department clinics. They found that 55 % of safety net patients routinely used email and text messaging, and 87 % had a strong interest in using it for health matters. At the time of the study, only 17 % reported informal use of email with providers, and none of the clinics had secure communication portals. Patients believed it could improve clinic efficiency and communication with their providers, though they were concerned about creating additional work for busy clinicians and felt that some health issues could not be dealt with by email. Younger patients and those with higher income and education were ...