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A Piece of My Mind
May 2, 2012

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Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Senior Editor.

Author Affiliations: Medical Services, Veterans Administration Palo Alto Health Care System; and General Medical Disciplines, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California (james.kahn@va.gov).

JAMA. 2012;307(17):1807-1808. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.3462

I remember the first time a patient texted me. His text asked me for his laboratory results, specifically his HIV viral load. I was both thrilled and worried. I was thrilled because this was a great way to handle a patient's request and represented a technology-enabled “teaching moment.” I was worried because I thought I was in deep trouble. First some background. I am a professor of medicine, first at the San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) AIDS Program and now at the Veterans Administration Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS). I am lucky enough to have cared for some people for more than 20 years. I give my patients my e-mail address and my office telephone and fax numbers if they need to reach me. All of this information is on my business card. I also give my patients my cell phone number. It turns out—not a big surprise—that my cell phone is the most common tool my patients use to reach me.

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