As a practice, we will be introducing Email-Consultations to our patients from mid-February 2020. This is in anticipation of April 2020, where it will become mandatory for patients to be able to consult via an email platform.
We are using a service called Engage Consult. The surgery believes that this service will allow patients to have greater access to information and the ability to message in to the surgery 24 hours a day.
Convenience of communication
Emails can be sent and received from many places and take little time to transmit, compared to surface mail.
They provide a useful 'hard record' of information that patients and doctors may not be able to retain after verbal communication (e.g., addresses and telephone numbers of services to which patients are referred, test results with interpretations and advice, instructions on how to take drugs).
They can be of unlimited length - in addition to text, users can send virtually any kind of electronic file as an attachment.
Access to healthcare
Increased access to care for those who find coming into a surgery or hospital difficult (e.g., for those with physical disabilities or those living in remote communities).
Ability to share information
Improved opportunities for information sharing between doctors and patients and between doctors (e.g., patient information leaflets, links to internet resources and specialist advice/algorithm on therapeutic monitoring in primary care).
User-friendly medium for patients to seek clarification after a face-to-face consultation.
Potential enhanced reporting of adverse events.
Allows patients to discuss content of messages with family or friends to help enhance understanding.
Potentially, could help to diffuse traditional barriers of age, status and personal unfamiliarity.
Possibility of communicating with a Clinician whilst retaining anonymity.
Relatively rapid speed of communication (although dependent on the 'schedule' of the receiver of the email).
May be suitable for groups of patients reluctant to seek face-to-face contact.
Quality of care
Ease of communication means that doctors may consult widely with colleagues for advice.
Email provides a clear typewritten record of consultation and so reduces uncertainty associated with transcription into record and poor legibility of handwritten record.
Efficiency of practice
Potential environmental savings compared to paper and telephonic communication.
To access this service please click here