Patients would pay to be online with docs

July 1, 2002

Pharmaceutical Representative

Patients who are online would like to be able to fix appointments, ask questions, refill prescriptions and receive diagnostic test results over the Internet, and more than a third said they would be willing to pay to be able to do this, according to new a poll.

Patients who are online would like to be able to fix appointments, ask questions, refill prescriptions and receive diagnostic test results over the Internet, and more than a third said they would be willing to pay to be able to do this, according to new a poll by Rochester, NY-based Harris Interactive Inc.

The survey found that 90% of those online would like to be able to communicate with their physicians online. More than two-thirds of them would like to be able to do each of the following: ask questions where no visit is necessary (77%), fix appointments (71%), refill prescriptions (71%) and receive the results of medical tests (70%).

How many and how much?

Over a third (37%) of all those online say they would be willing to pay out-of-pocket for the ability to communicate online with their physicians. According to the results of the poll, the more affluent people are, the more likely they are to be willing to pay for this.

If they were required to pay a fixed amount each month to be able to access their physicians online, they (the 37% of all those online who would be willing to pay) say they would pay, on average, just over $10 a month.

If, alternatively, they were required to pay each time they sent an e-mail (and received a reply), they indicate that, on average, they would pay almost $7 each time.

Access influences choice

Most (55%) of those online say that if one health plan enabled them to communicate with their doctors online and another did not, this would influence their choice of plan. Twelve percent say they would be influenced "a great deal."

Most (56%) also say that if one doctor allowed them to communicate online and another did not, this would influence their choice of physicians. The survey was conducted online among a nationwide cross section of 2,014 adults aged 18 and over. PR

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