Docs Balk, But Email Improves Patient Experience

Marianne Aiello, April 3, 2013

I hate calling my doctor's office. I like my doctor, and I like her office staff, but calling is the worst.

It's a busy practice, so I often wait on ho ld for a few minutes before reaching a nurse who is not assigned to my physician. The appropriate nurse usually returns my call within the next hour or so, but by that point I don't even care about getting clarification on my lab results anymore.

Worse than calling my doctor's office is when the office calls me.

I don't answer my cellphone unless I recognize the exact number (and in case you think I'm in the minority here, not a one of my friends does either). And I keep my cellphone on silent while at work. These practices unfortunately result in a wonderful game of phone tag that only succeeds in leaving everyone frustrated and me wishing my doctor could just tweet my lab results at me, HIPAA be damned.

You can imagine my delight, then, when my doctor's practice enabled the email function on its patient portal. Now not only can I view my lab results, but also send a follow-up email in all of about 40 seconds. My doctor typically replies within a few hours and I don't mind the wait because I'm busy doing other things in the meantime, versus waiting on hold or staring at my phone.


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