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T-Space at The University of Toronto Libraries >
Journal of Medical Internet Research >
Volume 5 (2003) >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/4664


Title: Doctors Who Are Using E-mail With Their Patients: a Qualitative Exploration
Authors: Patt, Madhavi R
Houston, Thomas K
Jenckes, Mollie W
Sands, Daniel Z
Ford, Daniel E
Keywords: Original Paper
Electronic mail
Internet
physician-patient relations
communication
Issue Date: 15-May-2003
Publisher: Gunther Eysenbach; Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, Toronto, Canada
Citation: Madhavi R Patt, Thomas K Houston, Mollie W Jenckes, Daniel Z Sands, Daniel E Ford. Doctors Who Are Using E-mail With Their Patients: a Qualitative Exploration. J Med Internet Res 2003;5(2):e9 <URL: http://www.jmir.org/2003/2/e9/>
Abstract: [This item is a preserved copy and is not necessarily the most recent version. To view the current item, visit http://www.jmir.org/2003/2/e9/ ] Background: Despite the potential for rapid, asynchronous, documentable communication, the use of e-mail for physician-patient communication has not been widely adopted. Objective: To survey physicians currently using e-mail with their patients daily to understand their experiences. Methods: In-depth phone interviews of 45 physicians currently using e-mail with patients were audio taped and transcribed verbatim. Two investigators independently qualitatively coded comments. Differences were adjudicated by group consensus. Results: Almost all of the 642 comments from these physicians who currently use e-mail with patients daily could be grouped into 1 of 4 broad domains: (1) e-mail access and content, (2) effects of e-mail on the doctor-patient relationship, (3) managing clinical issues by e-mail, and (4) integrating e-mail into office processes. The most consistent theme was that e-mail communication enhances chronic-disease management. Many physicians also reported improved continuity of care and increased flexibility in responding to nonurgent issues. Integration of e-mail into daily workflow, such as utilization of office personnel, appears to be a significant area of concern for many of the physicians. For other issues, such as content, efficiency of e-mail, and confidentiality, there were diverging experiences and opinions. Physicians appear to be selective in choosing which patients they will communicate with via e-mail, but the criteria for selection is unclear. Conclusions: These physician respondents did perceive benefits to e-mail with a select group of patients. Several areas, such as identifying clinical situations where e-mail communication is effective, incorporating e-mail into office flow, and being reimbursed for online medical care/communication, need to be addressed before this mode of communication diffuses into most practices.
Description: Reviewer: Smith, R
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/4664
ISSN: 1438-8871
Other Identifiers: doi:10.2196/jmir.5.2.e9
Rights: Copyright (cc) Retained by author(s) under a Creative Commons License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Appears in Collections:Volume 5 (2003)

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