Doctor on Computer

Providers charging for email. One difficulty in reducing all care interaction to the transactional level is the law of unintended consequences.

A major health system’s public notice of plans to begin charging for previously free patient-provider messaging has sparked public debate over the value of a clinician’s time. There's also speculation that similar policies will become the norm among providers with digital touch points. The Cleveland Clinic released a notice last month that, as of Nov. 17, it would begin billing up to $50 for certain messages sent by patients to their provider through its MyChart patient portal. According to the announcement, Cleveland Clinic now bills for messages that require medical expertise and “typically taking five or more minutes for your provider to answer,” such as a potential change to the patient’s medication. Quicker notes, including appointment scheduling or clarification after a recent visit, remain free.

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