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Patient-Doctor Email Correspondence: How Does it Change Healthcare?

Today people can order food, hail a ride and get groceries delivered to their front door all from the convenience of an app. What if medical care was as easy?



For some, it is! Patient-doctor relationships are evolving. Many medical practices are now allowing patients to set up appointments online, refill prescriptions and chat with the doctor. If a patient is experiencing an ache or pain, or if the antibiotic regimen their doctor has them on doesn’t seem to be working, they can now email their doctor, describe the symptoms and get a response in real-time; no more unnecessary doctor’s appointments!





Getting to communicate with your patients in real time and offer solutions will improve patient-doctor relationships. On top of that, patients prefer doctor’s offices who offer email communication.



But as with all good things, there’s always something that could lead to potential harm. In regards to electronic communications between patient and doctor, that would be cybercrime.



Without medical professional liability insurance, a cybercriminal could take your medical practice down from the inside. In effect, will patient-doctor email correspondence help or hurt your medical practice?



The Pros of Patient-Doctor Email Correspondence



-Allows patient to have frequent communication with the doctor between medical appointments.



-More communication between the patient and their doctor fosters a trusting relationship between the two parties.



-Patients aren’t able to make every appointment, and sometimes a medical question doesn’t call for one. A quick email can answer the patient’s question and keep you on track for your next patient visit.



-In an interview with Harvard Health Publications, well-known dermatologist Dr. Joseph Kvedar believes that email communication tells patients that he cares for their well-being and is available to them when they need him.



-Email correspondence helps patients to keep better track of their progress and helps them to maintain prescribed regimens.



The Cons of Patient-Doctor Email Correspondence



-Discussing medical issues via email without physically examining the patient could make for an incorrect medical diagnosis.



-Email messages can be misinterpreted. A patient could misunderstand the content of the message and hurt themselves. This leaves the doctor liable for damages.



-Email correspondence can be hacked by cybercriminals. If the information is hacked, the cybercriminal could damage or destroy the medical practice’s network and sensitive data.



-A person who isn’t the patient could potentially open and read the email containing the patient’s medical history and diagnosis. This would violate HIPAA guidelines.



-This could cause patients to become too reliable on electronic communication and will stall in-person appointments.



As you can see, the pros and cons for patient-doctor email correspondence is evenly divided. Physicians want the best care for their patients, but not everyone agrees that email correspondence is the right way to go about doing it.



To provide excellent medical care, doctors have to put patients first. Though it would be much more convenient on behalf of the patient to email their doctor a question, if the email got into the wrong hands, it could hypothetically hurt the physician’s career.



That’s where medical professional insurance comes in. Should something unforeseen happen, your insurance will help cover the financial damages. Learn more and get a free quote today with CoverHound.


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