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Invited Critique
February 1, 2008

E-mail Access and Improved Communication Between Patient and Surgeon—Invited Critique

Arch Surg. 2008;143(2):168-169. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2007.32

Advances in medical communication technology have developed at a rapid pace and include telemedicine, the electronic medical record, and e-mail. The application in banking and other retail industries has been explosive and revolutionary. The ambitious predictions for a role in clinical medicine have not been realized and have been poorly studied in terms of benefits, particularly related to quality of care.

Stalberg and colleagues have carried out a prospective randomized study assessing e-mail as a device to improve communication between patient and surgeon. The study group is unique in that all were patients of a single surgeon and all had e-mail potential at home or work. (A clear reflection of the age group involved!) Patients were having a thyroid or parathyroid procedure, with a short hospital stay and what I would consider an excellent informed consent in both groups.

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