Those who read me much know I have a very large geek streak, especially related to Electronic Medical Records. We have recently taken a big step toward communication with our patients via e-mail, and it is really a huge success.
So now we have to advertise our patients. Here is a handout being posted in the exam rooms:
Why we want your E-mail Address
You may have noticed that we are now asking for your e-mail address. While you may feel reluctant to give it to us, please do. We have begun to implement a plan to make your care better and easier. We realize communication is difficult at times (we really do!) and want to take steps to make this better for everyone. Here is our vision:
- We are already e-mailing results of labs and tests to our patients who have given us these addresses.
- When this happens, you will get an e-mail saying you have results to view. We are not sending the results directly to your e-mail (for obvious confidentiality reasons).
- You will be directed to click a link that will bring you to our secure server.
- The first time you do this, you will be required to supply a password.
- Your results will then be available to look at or download.
- You cannot e-mail us questions about these results (yet). If you have questions, please call.
- Our next step will be to allow people to log on to our web site and request refills on their medications or appointments. Our hope is that this will reduce the traffic on our phones so that we can actually begin answering the phone before the automated attendant.
- We are presently also working on some advice and directions regarding common questions and medical problems to be available on our web site. We get many phone calls about certain questions (common rashes, what to do for a cold, when to come in), and so we are working on some answers that you can easily find. Please be sure to visit our web site often to see how we are progressing on this.
- Eventually we would like to have a two-way communication with our patients via e-mail or some other online communication tool. We don’t want to rush to this, however, as we want to do it well when we start and not miss important things. If this is something you would like, please let your insurance company know your desire, as most companies don’t yet pay for “e-visits.”
- We are planning on starting with the use of “e-prescriptions” soon. As opposed to faxing, these would allow you to use any pharmacy and would also check ahead of time to see if your drug is covered by your insurance. That would be nice for everyone!
- We also would eventually like to have an e-mail newsletter to our patients regarding things happening in our office or even in response to news headlines related to your care.
There are many more neat things we could add in the future, but all of these take time. Even though we are technologically ahead of most offices, we do not rush into changes of this sort (we have learned that the hard way).
If you do not use e-mail or the internet, you do benefit from much of this as it makes our phone traffic much less, meaning that you can talk to humans for a change!
Everyone is excited.
Oh yes, and I am notified when the patient reads their e-mail and even if they don't within 30 days.