E-mail is fast, convenient, and efficient. E-mail works well for many non-urgent questions, requests or messages you may have for your doctor. The most important thing you should know is that the confidentiality of e-mail exchanges cannot be guaranteed. While the security of e-mail is comparable to other types of communication (such as phone calls), there are some special issues with e-mail:
* If your e-mail address is through your employer, your employer may own all e-mails sent to that address.
* If your e-mail address is a family address, other family members may see your messages.
* If you use an internet service provider, there is a small risk that messages may be intercepted by others (hackers).
You should also know that e-mail sent to your doctor may be read by others in the practice.
What types of communications are appropriate for e-mail?
> Appointment scheduling questions or concerns
> Non-urgent medical advice or follow-up (including some types of test results)
> Billing/insurance questions
The following subjects are never appropriate for e-mail:
> Any urgent medical problem or emergency
> Mental health issues
> Drug and alcohol problems
> HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases
Please keep in mind that although e-mail can be a very effective tool, it is not a substitute for a physical exam or counseling by your doctor.