A new research study takes a look a the way the doctors communicate with their patients electronically.
Indiana University researchers are analyzing electronic communication between patients and clinicians with hopes that better communication will lead to improved health.
Regenstrief Institute Research Scientist Joy L. Lee says the research focuses on setting new guidelines for e-communication and will lead to new improvements and less miscommunication.
“Because health care raises the stakes of everything, we want to make sure that even in something as common as email that patients and providers are doing it appropriately,” she says.
Lee says with advancements in technology, existing communication guidelines have weakened over time, creating a disconnect between doctors and patients.
Lee says improper email communication can lead to patients misunderstanding diagnoses, medication errors and, in turn, worsening health issues.
The research also notes that a focus on more careful e-communication can improve the relationships between clinicians and patients.
“We really see a need for the guidelines to be updated, so that we can improve the quality and really focus on how the words that people are using electronically can lead to better health.”
In 2016, more than 95 percent of hospitals in the United States had the capability for doctors and patients to communicate electronically.