I just finished listening to a podcast on how to manage email. Apparently normal people are continuously inundated with the wretched stuff to the point it becomes a time-sucking entity in desperate need of containment. The teacher gave tips on how to write email to better communicate the ‘gist’ of the neutral words; she also gave ways to prevent endless emails from going back and forth like a pingpong ball. It was all most fascinating especially because none of was applicable to me as I don’t get any.

There is email at work but the staff never uses it. Like Charlie Brown hoping for a letter I look for something, anything in my inbox but I get nothing. The bosses seldom need to communicate with me, and when they do they use the EHR or call me. If I want to communicate to The Wonder Receptionist I only have to walk next door and speak with her. The therapists were told not to put patient matters into not-secure email; since this is the only reason really they would want to talk to me, none bother.

My personal email box gets maybe a dozen a day. Most of my time on email is to delete not read. Most of it is medical news, of which I read the headlines and into the rubbish with it. Spam is surprisingly minimal. A proper email from an actual person with real content are as rare as ravens.  I guess I am lonely; I want a letter telling me your news.  I get such but it arrives in texts or FB announcements rather. Email is becoming more and more just a nuisance.

Getting back to the topic of work email, what is blatantly missing is patient email. In Medicine (psychiatry no exception) patients are all for it while their doctors would sooner eat rats at Tewkesbury than have it. Imagine the daily email from hundreds of patients, many with poor boundaries and/or with the patience of a boiling kettle! Besides becoming the time sucking vampire mentioned in the podcast, there is the security factor:patient information zipping through the internet without security. * Then there is the tedium of making sure all email gets into the charts.

A colleague recently tried email with patients but soon abandoned the experiment. His made it quite clear email was not for emergencies or to renew prescriptions or for billing/scheduling purposes. Of course this is exactly what patients wanted and they ended up doing anyway. Patients become irate ‘they had emailed about needing valium and/or thinking of killing themselves’ and the doctor didn’t get back to them immediately. Apparently he checked his email box 2-3/week at scheduled times. He soon scraped the system and stated he doesn’t look back.

This week I will send some email to some long time chums whom I haven’t heard from in awhile. I have to think of something to say. I lead a dull life.

I am curious to hear from Spo-fans if they use much email at work or at home or do you not bother but still call people or write letters.

I am told this can be fixed somehow, but the bosses are not willing to shell out the money for such.