An E-mail Service in a Military Adolescent Medicine Clinic: will teens use it and what for?
The goal of this study was to determine utilization patterns of an Adolescent Medicine Clinic e-mail service. An e-mail service was offered to 6134 patients presenting for care to a military Adolescent Medicine Clinic in San Antonio, Texas over a 6-month period. Families had to complete an authorization form acknowledging that the e-mail service was not encrypted and was not to be used for emergent issues prior to use. 482 families signed up for the service. A total of 42 e-mails were received from 28 of these families. 75% of all e-mails were initiated by parents. The majority of e-mails were administrative issues including: medication refills, lab follow up, and referrals requests. In conclusion, the e-mail service was a low cost method to increase communication options for our patients that was not associated with a large increase in clinic workload because of low utilization rates, especially among younger adolescents.
Keywords: Adolescents; E-mail; Internet; Electronic communication; Physicianpatient communication