Electronic Communication With Patients: Tips

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Sensitive information should be discussed with a patient in person or on the phone, and sensitivity to patients should be a concern.
Sensitive information should be discussed with a patient in person or on the phone, and sensitivity to patients should be a concern.

HealthDay News — Care should be taken when conveying electronic messages to patients, according to a report published by the American Medical Association (AMA).1

An education session at the 2017 AMA Annual Meeting emphasized the need to act prudently when conveying electronic messages to patients. Risk managers, Ingrid Hubbard Reidy and Mike O' Neill, with the physician-owned medical liability insurer ISMIE Mutual Insurance Co., discussed appropriate use of electronic communications and provided examples of problematic use.

The risk managers recommended use of business numbers and e-mail addresses during communication with patients; ensuring no one has access to information relating to physician log in and password; and formalizing an office policy on electronic communication, with annual reviews as technology changes.

Furthermore, sensitive information should be discussed with a patient in person or on the phone. Sensitivity to patients should be an overriding concern in communications, regardless of whether patients act accordingly.

"Recognize that anything said [electronically] is out there indefinitely and subject to discovery," Reidy said during the session.

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Reference

  1. In texts with patients, keep things clear, concise, emotion-free [press release]. Chicago: AMA Wire; June 11, 2017.
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