E-mail Communication in the OB/GYN Office: Analysis of Patient E-mails to Their OB/GYN

Andrew L. Atkinson, Jonathan D. Baum, Meghan Rattigan, Debra Gussman


Background: How patients use e-mail with their obstetrician-gynecologists (ob/gyns) is unknown. E-mail was originally created as a tool for health care professionals yet physicians remain reluctant to adopt e-mail as a form of communication with patients. Many cite concerns of patient misuse, risk management issues, and uncompensated time commitment. The primary objective of this study was to examine the details of e-mail generated by patients to their ob/gyns. A secondary objective was to examine e-mails that corroborate physician concern about e-mail.

Methods: A retrospective observational study was performed. E-mails from patients sent to two ob/gyns were examined.

Results: Three hundred patient initiated e-mails were generated by 127 patients. Seventy-eight percent were sent during office hours and 87% of e-mails were sent on weekdays. Thirty-seven percent involved symptoms, 14% test results, 13% administrative, 12% contraception, 11% prescriptions, 8% other and 5% social. Three percent of e-mails met the definition of misuse. There were 594 follow-up e-mails exchanged from the initial 300 e-mails. Each physician received up to 6 e-mails daily.

Conclusions: Patients use e-mail as an alternative to calling. More than 50% of e-mails relate to symptoms and test results. This study substantiated concerns about e-mail misuse by patients. New policies must be created to ensure that e-mail with patients is safe, effective and attractive for physicians as a form of communication with patients.

J Clin Gynecol Obstet. 2014;3(1):8-13
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.14740/jcgo232e


E-mail; Electronic mail; Physician communication; OB/GYN

Full Text: HTML PDF

Browse  Journals  


Journal of Clinical Medicine Research

Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism

Journal of Clinical Gynecology and Obstetrics

World Journal of Oncology

Gastroenterology Research

Journal of Hematology

Journal of Medical Cases

Journal of Current Surgery

Clinical Infection and Immunity

Cardiology Research

World Journal of Nephrology and Urology

Cellular and Molecular Medicine Research

Journal of Neurology Research

International Journal of Clinical Pediatrics






Journal of Clinical Gynecology & Obstetrics, quarterly, ISSN 1927-1271 (print), 1927-128X (online), published by Elmer Press Inc.                     
The content of this site is intended for health care professionals.
This is an open-access journal, the authors retain the copyright, the journal is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Creative Commons Attribution license (Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International CC-BY-NC 4.0)

This journal follows the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommendations for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals,
the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines, and the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.

website: www.jcgo.org   editorial contact: editor@jcgo.org
Address: 9225 Leslie Street, Suite 201, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4B 3H6, Canada

© Elmer Press Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the published articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the editors and Elmer Press Inc. This website is provided for medical research and informational purposes only and does not constitute any medical advice or professional services. The information provided in this journal should not be used for diagnosis and treatment, those seeking medical advice should always consult with a licensed physician.