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E-mail access and improved communication between patient and surgeon
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Endocrine Surgery.
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2008 (English)In: Archives of surgery (Chicago. 1960), ISSN 0004-0010, Vol. 143, no 2, 164-8; discussion 168-9 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

OBJECTIVE: To examine the effectiveness of e-mail communication between surgeon and patient prior to elective surgery. DESIGN: Prospective randomized study. SETTING: Tertiary referral center. PATIENTS: One hundred consecutive patients presenting for consultation prior to undergoing thyroid or parathyroid surgery. INTERVENTION: All were randomized to either receiving an information sheet promoting e-mail communication as the preferred method of communication (group E) or a standard information sheet (group S). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: (1) Use of communication with the surgeon outside of the booked preoperative and postoperative consultation and (2) satisfaction questionnaire. RESULTS: Overall, 26 of 100 patients (26%) initiated additional perioperative communication with the surgeon, 19 of 50 (38%) in group E and 7 of 50 (14%) in group S (P < .001). Of those who initiated communication, 22 of 26 (84%) did so by e-mail; 3 (12%), by fax; and 1 (4%), by telephone. For patients using e-mail, 18 of 22 (81%) were in group E and 4 of 22 (18%), in group S (P < .02). Overall, 34 e-mails were sent by 22 patients in the study group. Most e-mails sent focused on only 1 issue; however, some patients raised multiple issues, with the most being 4 issues in a single e-mail. There were no differences in any of the outcome measures in relation to patient satisfaction with communication. CONCLUSION: Despite concerns about potential medicolegal issues and other disadvantages, providing patients undergoing elective surgery with e-mail access to their surgeon results in improved levels of communication without any demonstrated impairment of satisfaction with outcomes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 143, no 2, 164-8; discussion 168-9 p.
Keyword [en]
e-mail communication, surgeon, patient
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-88375DOI: 10.1001/archsurg.2007.31PubMedID: 18283141OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-88375DiVA: diva2:158207
Available from: 2009-01-30 Created: 2009-01-30 Last updated: 2013-11-06Bibliographically approved

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