Healthcare Professionals Communicating with Patients Through Email: Technology Works if Used Properly

NT5469727

Email is now a standard part of our lives.  We use email in the workplace
to communicate with colleagues.  We use email at home to correspond with
family and friends.  Today, many healthcare professionals communicate with
patients through email.  This method of communication has many advantages,
but there are some critical rules that need to be followed.

Traditional types of healthcare-patient communication are in-person
meetings and written information.  New technology adds another form of
communication, that is, via email and the Internet.  There are multiple
advantages to embracing new technology:

* Allows for simple routine types of questions (but should never replace
an in-person visit with a seriously ill person).
* Provides test results with interpretations and medication instructions.
* Allows for follow-up care and clarification of information provided in
an office setting.
* Provides links to helpful articles or websites.

However, all of the new technology must be tempered with patient
confidentiality and a right to privacy.

The American Medical Association’s has developed guidelines for
physician-patient electronic communications.  This is a link to the
guidelines:

http://tinyurl.com/b9o3un

Many healthcare professionals are concerned this new technology will take
up much of their time, however in many ways, this new method of
communicating may ultimately save a lot of time.

Edward Leigh, MA, is the Founder and Director of the Center for Healthcare
Communication.  To book one of his high-content communication skills programs, visit or call:
http://www.CommunicatingWithPatients.com or call 1-800-677-3256

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One Response to “Healthcare Professionals Communicating with Patients Through Email: Technology Works if Used Properly”

  1. Jonathan Richman Says:

    This actually have been looked at in a number of studies (here’s one: http://www.jabfm.org/cgi/content/abstract/18/3/180). Patients love the idea and physicians warm to it when they realize that they can save time answering email versus returning calls. That’s the tradeoff. Physicians should realize that they are trading phone for email and not adding yet another thing to do.

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