Bmj Usa Editorial

Email in clinical care

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 14 October 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:E325
  1. Steven E Waldren (, assistant director,
  2. David C Kibbe (, director, co-chair
  1. Center for Health Information Technology American Academy of Family Physicians Leawood, KS
  2. Center for Health Information Technology American Academy of Family Physicians, Physicians' EHR Coalition Chapel Hill, NC

    Best as part of an electronic health record

    In two articles in this issue of BMJ USA, Car and Sheikh do a more than an adequate job of summarizing what is known about the value of email as a tool to improve and augment patient-provider communication (pp 533, 538). It is important to place electronic communications and messaging within the larger context of medical practice adoption of health information technology (HIT), and especially, electronic health records (EHRs). As Car and Sheikh point out, email is a great tool to communicate with patients for reasons such as appointment and preventive health reminders or to communicate small, discrete packets of information. The asynchronous nature of email can afford efficiency to patients and providers that other forms of communication cannot. And email has value beyond patient communication. Providers can use email to communicate with specialist or other members of the care team.

    With dwindling reimbursement, providers cannot introduce new services that may …

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