It was estimated in 2004 than 64% of physician’s use email in their communications with staff, patients, colleagues and third-party payers. This study found that patients are often frustrated and upset with the difficulty they encounter when trying to reach a physician by telephone hence the increase in patients requesting physicians to use email as a communication method. Benefits for physicians allow them to respond at any time and at their convenience while also allowing templates to be provided that respond to certain questions regarding care. Patient Gateway was used as a pilot program in certain ambulatory clinics. Results indicated that physicians felt the program was a positive though limitations of the study were that physicians were not yet using direct general messaging and the sample size was relatively small.

The majority of the European populations use the internet for health reasons. only 10% communicate with their physician this way. Two distinct suppliers of internet secure patient communication systems supplied a list of those offices that were currently using their system and of those offices 9 participated in this study.

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