Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Want to reach your doctor? Try faxing!

I originally heard this fact from a customer of ours, but since then I’ve heard it from other sources as well: doctors don’t like to give out their email addresses. They don’t like to give them to hospitals. And they don’t like to give them to patients.

The reason is they’re afraid their inboxes would be inundated with email on a wide variety of subjects – most of which are of no interest to them. For example, it may be good to know that the hospital they’re associated with now has healthier choices in the cafeteria, but they don’t want to see it in their inbox. Same with the change in their pharmaceutical representative – they’ll find that out during the next sales call.

But what happens if they need to receive information on a patient being referred to them? It’s certainly important to know the patient’s history, any medications they’re already taking, any preliminary diagnoses, etc.

Most likely they’re going to receive that information via fax. It’s just the way many doctors prefer to work.

What that means to you is that doctors (or their office staff) check faxes more frequently, and with more interest, than they check email. So if you need to get some information to your doctor, or you want to make sure a message gets the attention it deserves, forget email and instead send a fax. Otherwise your message may do what most of us often do at the doctor’s office – sit around waiting forever.

Have any of you tried contacting your doctor via fax? And if you’re a doctor, has this been your experience too?