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Table 4 Comparison of attitudes relating to medical consultation by cell phone or e-mail

From: Providing cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses to patients: The patient’s perspective, a cross sectional study

Question Cell phone e-mail p
N (%) N (%)
All participants
How do you feel about getting your physician’s cell phone number or e-mail address?
Very interested 93 (46.5) 25 (14.6)  
Would not object 83 (41.5) 85 (49.7) <0.0001
Not interested 24 (12.0) 61 (35.7)  
Getting my physician’s cell phone number or e-mail address could improve the relationship between us:
Agree 176 (88.0) 121 (70.8) <0.0001
Do not agree 24 (12.0) 50 (29.2)  
Getting my physician’s cell phone number or e-mail address could improve my sense of security even if I don’t use it:
Agree 169 (84.0) 97 (55.7) <0.0001
Do not agree 31 (15.0) 74 (43.3)  
Cell phones/e-mail are an effective means of communication that could solve my problems:
Agree 102 (51.0) 44 (25.7) <0.0001
Do not agree 98 (49.0) 127 (74.3)  
Cell phones/e-mail can cut down on the number of clinic visits:
Agree 138 (69.0) 46 (26.9) <0.0001
Do not agree 62 (31.0) 125 (73.1)  
Cell phones/e-mail can reduce the number of emergency room visits:
Cell phone provided by my employer 82 (41.0) 30 (17.5) <0.0001
Extra pay for the service 118 (59.0) 141 (82.5)  
At what times would you call or e-mail your doctor?
Only at appointed hours 62 (35.2) 53 (48.6)  
Only during daytime hours (excepting Saturdays and holidays) 69 (39.2) 30 (27.5) 0.057
At all hours including nights, Saturdays and holidays 45 (25.6) 26 (23.9)  
Under which circumstance would you call or e-mail your doctor?
Only in emergencies 105 (59.7) 62(56.9) 0.64
Whenever I think I need a medical consultation 71 (40.3) 47 (43.1)  
Getting your physician’s cell phone number or e-mail address could interfere with his/her privacy when they’re not working:
Agree 145 (72.5) 98 (57.6) 0.002
Do not agree 55 (27.5) 72 (42.4)  
The physician should not be called or sent an e-mail because there are telephone centers that are active after clinic hours:
Agree 161 (80.5) 143 (84.1) 0.37
Do not agree 39 (19.5) 27 (15.9)  
The physician should not be called or sent an e-mail because in emergencies one can call for an ambulance or go to the emergency room:
Agree 168 (84.0) 155 (93.5) 0.004
Do not agree 32 (16.0) 11 (6.5)  
The physician should not be called or sent an email because medical errors can occur if a physical examination is not performed:
Agree 168 (84.0) 155 (91.2) 0.038
Do not agree 32 (16.0) 15 (8.8)  
The physician should not be called or sent an e-mail because there is a risk of miscommunication:
Agree 173 (86.5) 154 (90.6) 0.221
Do not agree 27 (13.5) 16 (9.4)  
The physician should not be called or sent an e-mail because it can interfere with his clinic work:
Agree 148 (74.0) 119 (70.0) 0.392
Do not agree 52 (26.0) 51 (30.0)  
There is no reason against getting the physician’s personal cell phone number or e-mail address:
Agree 19 (9.5) 10 (5.9) 0.196
Do not agree 181 (90.5) 160 (94.1)  
If the HMO provided the physician with a cell phone and covered the cost or a laptop computer and paid for Internet services, that would motivate him/her to provide the email address:
Agree 128 (64.0) 102 (59.6) 0.389
Do not agree 72 (36.0) 69 (40.4)  
If the HMO gave the physician extra pay for cell phone or e-mail consultations, it would motivate him/her to provide the cell phone number:
Agree 151 (75.5) 116 (67.8) 0.101
Do not agree 49 (24.5) 55 (32.2)  
If the HMO gave the physician dedicated time for cell phone or e-mail consultations, it would motivate him/her to provide the e-mail address:
Agree 172 (86.0) 144 (84.2) 0.628
Do not agree 28 (14.0) 27 (15.8)  
Have you asked for your physician’s cell phone number or e-mail address in the past?
Yes 28 (14.0) 1 (0.6) <0.0001
No 172 (86.0) 170 (99.4)  
Do you have your physician’s cellphone number or e-mail address?
Yes 25 (12.5) 0 (0) <0.0001
No 175 (87.5) 171 (100.0)