Unraveling The Evolution of Patient-Physician Email Messaging

April 29, 2024

We all know how easy it is to get in touch with a doctor nowadays – all it takes is a quick call or the push of a button, and we can video chat with them. We can also see our health records online, but that has also led to an increase in emails between patients and providers.

In 2020, billing codes for email consultations were introduced and enabled providers to bill insurers and patients for email exchanges requiring substantive provider time. However, the emails with doctors and nurses surged during the pandemic and stayed at a higher level through 2021. While eventually the messaging tapered off, the rate of emails remained at twice the pre-pandemic emails, with the main specialty being primary care, including family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics.  A large share of email claims included general medical consultations, too.

The convenience of grabbing our phones to email our doctors is something that isn’t going away. Using email can help patients avoid in-person visits and is accessible for many.

Have you used email or an app to talk to your doctor? Were you charged extra? Do you rely on it more than you did a few years ago? Let us know!