octors still resist using emails when communicating with their patients, according to a recent Medscape article. Not being renumerated was one of the main reasons of not wanting to spend time with patients via email. There was also a difference between a fixed salary doctor, as opposed to those especially in private practice.
So I posted the link on my facebook which generated some response. Although many resist emailing patients, it remains a modality of communication worth considering. There was much fear about litigation, especially when something is written in black and white. I suppose it can also work the other way round of protecting us when we have clearly documented our conversations via email. So I guess this point is rather irrelevant.
Having said that it is important not to substitute clinical assessment with emails. I feel this is irresponsible and certainly opens up the physician to lawsuits. An area that emails can be useful is explaining about a disease or procedure. Even perhaps to follow up on a treatment that a doctor has recently instituted.
Emailing remains a secure mode of communication and in fact will save time. Otherwise, it would have been a phone call during a busy clinic schedule or an unscheduled visit in an already packed clinic.
There are other modes of communication, from facebook to instant messaging. Unfortunately, these other modes tend to blend uncomfortably at times with one’s private lives. Emails can remain to the point and short.
As more patients embrace the internet, one cannot help but embrace this modality of communication.