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E-mail consultations may help healthcare

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LONDON, Aug 20, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.K. researchers said a greater use of e-mail consultations between doctors and patients could improve the delivery of healthcare.

The study at the Imperial College London and University of Edinburgh found a number of advantages in using e-mail, including saving time for both doctors and patients, improving access to care for those with physical disabilities or those living in remote areas, better information sharing, more speedy communication, and a chance to reduce costs.

The researchers looked at how e-mail consultations already are being used and measured the opinions of doctors and patients on their effectiveness.

These electronic consultations may not be without consequence, however.

"Many patients increasingly want to be able to communicate with their doctors by e-mail, but the lack of an adequate supporting infrastructure could be a security issue, and many doctors are still concerned that e-mail consultations will not provide the same level of service for many patients," wrote study author Aziz Sheikh in the British Medical Journal.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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