The Seattle Times has an article on the Microsoft/Premera/Virginia Mason/RelayHealth pilot of online doctor/patient messaging that has been discussed here before. Online messaging makes a lot of sense to avoid office visits and improve access to care without overburdening physicians with new tasks. However, sometimes plans have implemented online messaging while charging patients the same co-pay as for an office visit. That leads patients to use the phone instead –an inefficient but free mechanism. I was happy to read that this program isn’t charging any co-pays for webVisits.
Read more at iHealthBeat.January 10, 2006