Monday, February 08, 2010

How email improves doctor-patient communication

Many doctors are worried that email will ruin doctor-patient communication, because they feel that face to face interaction is vital to preserving the doctor patient relationship.

Actually, for established patients, email is a far better way of communicating with the doctor, as compared to a phone call.

I find that patients are quite reluctant to phone a doctor with their "minor doubts" because they do not want to disturb the doctor. This means that a lot of worries remain unresolved. With email, on the other hand, they are much more willing to ask for clarifications, because email is much less intrusive, and they know I can answer at my convenience ! Email allows me to provide reassurance and comfort much more easily to my patients.

My replies can be thoughtful and reasoned - and because I am not rushed ( as I might be in the clinic when I have lots of patients waiting to be seen), it is actually easier for me to be more empathetic by email !
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