doctors hide from email

People talk about reforming health care, to reduce costs and improve care, to improve public health without gouging the consumer.

We have had email as a communication tool for decades. There are other forms of electronic communication proven to work well for reducing costs, disseminating information, and heightening consumer knowledge.

But has anyone ever sent an email to their doctor? Hell no. Doctors work HARD to NOT allow anyone resembling a patient to get whiff of an email address. Electronic communication is not a part of medical care.

You can call the doctor on the phone. You can get an answering service for your doctor after hours. The telephone (a hundred year old technology) is part of the practice of medicine. Email, however, is not.

Of course it may be deleterious for doctors to get inundated by emails from patients asking questions that are repetitive and perhaps irrelevant. But there are ways of handling problems like this. They have receptionists and nurses and physician’s assistants in the office to run interference on such patients. Why couldn’t that be extended to email or other electronic communication.

The problem, I suspect, is the isolated, ivory tower, enabled, elitist culture of doctors. A culture we see in so many other ways, in so many other communication failures.

 Any arguments?


About mrsorenson

NOT my president
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One Response to doctors hide from email

  1. mybits says:

    Larry David addresses this issue many times in his Curb Your Enthusiasm series (I am a huge fan). In one episode, he manages to convince his doctor to give him his cell number, promising never to call. He then calls him by mistake, and even ends up in his house.

    It’s a comedy show.

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