Guidelines for physicians: Dos and Don'ts of patient email

June 10, 2011

With the advent of electronic health records and nearly ubiquitous email, texting, video chat, and social media, many of the hings that physicians and patients traditionally have performed by telephone and in person increasingly will be completed via email. Although email is fast and convenient, potential pitfalls exist.

With the advent of electronic health records and nearly ubiquitous email, texting, video chat, and social media, many of the things that physicians and patients traditionally have performed by telephone and in person increasingly will be completed via email. Although email is fast and convenient, potential pitfalls exist.

First, realize that although email is relatively secure, you are not always sure who will be reading it at the other end, so think about what you share via email.

Second, consider how time-sensitive your communication is before taking this route.

With these general rules in mind, here are a few tips for physicians on what to do and not to do: