Friday, July 11, 2008

Why Doctors Are Reluctant to Use E-Mail

Dr. Benjamin Brewer explains in his blog at the Wall Street Journal:
With the rest of the world hooked on electronic communication, doctors sometimes seem like the last holdouts. Most doctors I know seem unwilling or unable to make even email part of the way they practice medicine.

I think there are two main reasons. The first is that email is another stream of information on top of phone calls, faxes and electronic pages from the hospital that the typical primary care doc has to contend with every day.

The other factor is the privacy and security laws known as HIPAA that scared docs from trying something new. They got the message you could be penalized for doing communications in the wrong way, so it's easier to not go there at all.
This is yet another unfortunate "unintended consequence" of bad laws like HIPAA. They retard the adoption of technologies that could benefit patients and doctors alike.