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Clinical Challenges
April 1999

Brave New World

Author Affiliations

Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1999;125(4):471-472. doi:10.1001/archotol.125.4.471

For better or worse, I have had extensive experience with patient e-mail communications. For more than 4 years, I have had my e-mail address on all my clinical correspondence (eg, letters and business cards). As a practitioner in northern California, I reside in the midst of a hotbed of high-tech savviness and medical consumerism. While my feelings about e-mail communication with patients are decidedly mixed, ignoring the inevitability of this medium today is no more sensible than it was to ignore the telephone at the turn of the last century. Unless you are an otolaryngologist contemplating imminent retirement, eventual participation in e-mail is not a matter of if but when. Accepting this inevitability, I will make a few suggestions that may help neophytes to avoid some of the pitfalls.