Example Of The Way Doctors Communicate With Patients Essay
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Nursing, Doctor, Health, Information, Patient, Communication, Time, Medicine
Effective communication between a patient and a doctor is critical in provision of medical care. A doctor needs to disseminate information about a patient’s condition and the available methods of treatment in a clear manner (Fong, 2010). By so doing, the patient will have the opportunity to get actively involved in making decisions regarding their treatment. In any healthcare setting, the primary goal is delivering high quality care to patients. No doubt, this cannot happen in the absence of effective communication. Over the years, doctors have used many methods to pass information to patients, including verbal and telephone communication (Fong, 2010). With technological advancements made over the last two decades, electronic communication, such as using E-mails has become popular and gained acceptance in most healthcare settings. Nonetheless, the use of E-mails is associated with certain benefits, as well as risks.
Benefits and risks of using E-mail
E-mail exchanges increases productivity and efficiency in healthcare delivery. A doctor will make fewer telephone calls, save on the administration costs associated with care, such as keeping records (ACP, 2001). More, so E-mails can be written at the convenience of the physician and through various devices, such as tablets, smart phones, laptops or desktops. Overall, this form of communication is cheaper and can be used for scheduling appointments, monitoring of chronic conditions, prescribing medication and answering easy medical questions, states(ACP, 2001).
E-mails minimize the number of unnecessary hospital visits that patients make every year. No doubt, a lot of time is wasted as patients queue to refill prescriptions, book an appointment or just seeking for clarifications (ACP, 2001). E-mails can eliminate this wastage of time by providing an ideal platform for doctors to offer follow-up care and disseminate information without patients making regular hospital visits. By doing this at their own convenience, doctors can dedicate more time to patients in need of intensive care. At the same time, patients do not need to stay away from work or their family to go and see the doctor (ACP, 2001).
According to ACP (2001), E-mails also enable doctors to provide supplementary information to patients. For instance, a doctor can attach a credible link or a journal article that contains the latest information and research of a particular condition affecting one of his patients. More so, E-mails enhance patient satisfaction because the doctor addresses every individual patient concerns effectively.
Using E-mails is associated with certain pitfalls. Firstly, there is the risk of patients abusing the privilege and using the platform to ask non-important questions (ACP, 2001). Moreover, physicians can spend too much time answering to enquiries sent through E-mail, thereby diverting time that could have been spent on patients in critical need of care. Secondly, using E-mails increases the risk of leakage of medical data. Just like other electronic forms of communications, E-mails are prone to hacking and other forms of cybercrime. The HIPAA Security Rule expects all healthcare providers to protect electronically transmitted health information, states ACP, 2001.
Other platforms that can be used for virtual communication between a patient and a doctor are apps that can be downloaded on a smartphone (ACP, 2001). Through these apps, patients can send questions to the doctor regarding their health and receive instant communications. More so, patients can send a video that expounds more about their health condition to their doctor. Doctors can use the same platform to dispense care and share any additional information (ACP, 2001).
Evidently, patient- doctor communication is very vital in the provision of quality healthcare. E-mails improve efficiency, reduce cost, relay additional information and minimize unnecessary hospital visits. At the same time, they are prone to leakage of confidential health information, which can be prevented through using secure messaging, tools or a web portal.
American College of Physicians (ACP), (2001). Improvement and innovation. Retrieved from
Fong, J. (2010). Doctor-Patient Communication: A Review. Ochsner Journal,10(1): 38–43.