“How patient privacy laws impede electronic communication with doctors”

Staying in touch with your doctor via IM? It’s more likely to happen in Mexico than here. Kevin MD quotes one doctor who “suspects that the demand that patients have to electronically talk to their doctors will force a change in privacy laws. We can only hope.”


  • I don’t understand. How are the privacy and documentation issues associated with texting different from those involved with talking on the telephone?

  • The content of texting can be retrieved; phone conversations, unless recorded, cannot.

  • If the doctor and the patient both agree to communicate online, after some kind of appropriate privacy disclaimer, then don’t understand why it’s anyone else’s business. Informed consent seems to work well enough for other aspects of medicine.

    And, truth be told, how would my doctor even know if I was using something like Google Voice, which can transcribe voice mail messages into email? Maybe it’s best for the patient if they don’t know.