E-mail and oncology: a survey of radiation oncology patients and their attitudes to a new generation of health communication.Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2005; 8(2):189-93.PC
Electronic mail (e-mail) is a powerful tool that can greatly enhance communication and has numerous potential applications within the medical profession. Physician-patient e-mail communication volume is increasing, but little research has addressed patient interests and concerns about this now commonplace technology. The goals of this study were to review the available literature regarding physician-patient e-mail practices, evaluate patient interest, assess patient perspectives about how e-mail communication might facilitate medical treatment and advice, and determine areas of patient concern regarding e-mail communication with their physicians. To this end, a population of cancer patients was sent a written survey designed to assess their access to e-mail and attitudes about physician-patient e-mail communication. We found that patients favored e-mail for increased convenience, efficiency, and timeliness about general health problems, while it was not favored for urgent matters.