E-Medicine Not a Cost Cutter

As our nation grapples with the complex and politically-charged debate over health care; more and more experts have suggested the practice of e-medicine –encouraging patients to access their medical test results and communicate with physicians online–might be the essential wave of the future.

But a new study suggests that giving patients access to their records may actually encourage more doctors visits and not really reduce burdens on health-care providers.

Patients given online access to their medical records in a study conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Institute for Health Research visited the doctor 16 percent more than their counterparts who were not given similar access.

Why online access was associated with greater use of medical services wasn’t clear, researchers said. But one thing they noted was that since ultimately the most important goal is for people to lead healthier lives, the uptick in doctor’s visits –while surprising–may not be such a bad thing.