NEW YORK - If you ask your doctor a question via e-mail, don't be shocked if you receive a bill.
E-health visits grew during the COVID-19 pandemic for obvious reasons, and it stuck.
But now, an increasing number of healthcare organizations, including hospitals, are billing for the correspondence.
"At the onset of the COVID pandemic, we saw a massive increase in the amount of secure messaging that patients were sending to their physicians on the order of 150% increase," said Dr. A Jay Holmgren, assistant professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco.
Holmgren’s name is also on a recently published study by medical journal JAMA Network Open.
The study found "an association with a reduction in patient portal messaging (both threads and individual messages) was observed that may be attributable to awareness of the possibility of being billed."
So, it seems patients may be now using e-correspondence less if it means a fee.