Skip to content Skip to navigation

Study: Parents Want Free Online Consultations for Kids

October 23, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

A new study from researchers at the University of Michigan reveals that parents are interested in receiving online options from their kids’ healthcare, but most aren’t interested in paying for such a service.

Researchers surveyed 1,420 parents with a child aged 0 to 17 years old, as part of the wide-ranging, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. Of those surveyed, 77 percent of parents said they would be likely to seek email advice for their children’s minor illness if that service were available.

Forty-eight percent of those polled felt an online consultation should be free, and half felt any charge for an e-mail consultation should be less than that of an office visit.  Only 6 percent of parents said they could currently get that e-mail advice from their child's healthcare provider.

“Most parents know it can be inconvenient to schedule and get to an office visit for a sick child. An email consultation would prevent the hassles of scheduling and allow sick children to remain at home. Email also could be available after hours when their caregiver’s office is closed,” stated Sarah Clark, associate director of the National Poll on Children’s Health and associate research scientist in the University Of Michigan Department Of Pediatrics.

According to researchers, the results of this study fall in line with providers’ concerns about email consultation. Parents don’t appreciate the workload that goes with an email consultation, reviewing the child’s medical history, and documenting the email exchange within the child’s medical record. There are also concerns about making sure online systems are implemented to ensure the privacy and security of email exchanges.

In this vein, a recent study from the Oakland-based integrated care provider, Kaiser Permanente, revealed that children whose parents use a personal health record (PHR) were more likely to attend six or more of the nationally recommended well-child care visits by 15 months of age.



Who is going to pay the caregiver to provide the email consultation?
Did those people who want this service free have any idea of how the person giving them this advice was going to be paid? To paraphrase one MD who had been providing "free" email advice to his patients, "I can never be off work". Should the caregivers office have someone to answer emails after their office is closed? If so who will pay this caregiver to be there with the email advice? There is no free lunch.

Thanks for the comment, couldn't agree more that there are a lot of questions on reimbursement. I do like the idea of an "on-call" emailer, but obviously how that person would get paid is up for debate.


ONC National Coordinator Gets Live Look at Carequality Data Exchange

Officials from Carequality have stated that there are now more than 150,000 clinicians across 11,000 clinics and 500 hospitals live on its network. These participants are also able to share health data records with one another, regardless of technology vendor.

American Red Cross, Teladoc to Provide Telehealth Services to Disaster Victims

The American Red Cross announced a partnership with Teladoc to deliver remote medical care to communities in the United States that are significantly affected by disasters.

Report: The Business of Cybercrime in Healthcare is Growing

While stolen financial data still has a higher market value than stolen medical records, as financial data can be monetized faster, there are indications that there is ongoing development of a market for stolen medical data, according to an Intel Security McAfee Labs report.

Phishing Attack at Baystate Health Potentially Exposes Data of 13K Patients

A phishing scam at Baystate Health in Springfield, Mass. has potentially exposed the personal data of 13,000 patients, according to a privacy statement from the patient care organization and a report from MassLive.

New Use Cases Driving Growth in Health Data Exchange through Direct

In an update, DirectTrust reported significant growth in Direct exchange of health information and the number of trusted Direct addressed enabled to share personal health information (PHI) in the third quarter of 2016.

Insurers to CBO: Consider Private Insurers’ Data in Evaluations of Telemedicine

Eleven private insurers, including Aetna, Humana and Anthem, are urging the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to consider the experience of commercial insurers when evaluating the impact of telemedicine coverage in Medicare.