A large number of surveyed patients with chronic conditions who exchanged secure email with providers via Kaiser Permanente’s patient portal reported that the communications improved their overall health status.

The study is dated; it was conducted in 2011 and finally published in recent days in the American Journal of Managed Care. All the processes of research, findings, writing up a study and waiting to get published can take a considerable amount of time, says Mary Reed, a staff scientist in Kaiser’s research unit.

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