The doctor is in - but is she online?

I was wondering - in this wonderful world of technology and social media, how do you use these tools with your doctor?

  • Do you correspond with them on e-mail between visits?
  • Is your doctor part of your online social network (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tudiabetes)?

If yes, how does that work for you? If not, could you imagine doing so?

I correspond with my doctor on e-mail, sometimes send her my stats beforehand, or ask her questions I would like to discuss with her. She says it’s a new experience for her, but it seems to work quite well.

Other than good old mobile phone (texting and voice calls) and landline…Ive never corresponded with my doctor through the web. Primarily because the hospital is just a 15 minute drive from my home. And our quarterly appointments has been very consistent. She has also considered me as “good” patient since I havent had any major problems since her care a year ago. In minor concerns, she is also a phone call away and is almost always available… My impression?, She is a bit conservative and rather see me in person. Efficiency wise, effectivity wise and comfort wise, the feeling is mutual. (its a personal option and opinion.)

The idea of web communication with your physician is wonderful though. If my situations were different, like distance and time is a concern, or maybe major/erratic bg fluctuations, an arrangement such as might be most beneficial too.

I had a dr that was also the dr for a hocky team. Even if I couldn’t see him at the office; a quick note thru SugarStats.com got me a personal note from him on any question I needed to ask. We even adjusted ratios there:)
I’m with a new doc now due to circumstances. I need to remember to ask this one to sign up with me:) It makes for a great patient relationship and tends to make both of us more human in my thoughts. My dr becomes a real mentor.
Huggles
MeadowLark

I e-mail my Doctor all the time… Give basal checks and changes with her… I even have her Mobile and Home phone. I think all doctors should do this.

There are HIPAA issues in doctor-patient communications and un-encrypted email and/or social networks are not the correct places for such communications. If at all, communications like this should be like the Kaiser Permanente model - the provider sets up a website with encryption and security so that only the patient can login and see messages/send messages.

Hello Timm, my Doctor and I founded the project Glucosurfer.org. The basic idea was to make it easier to manage and analyze the diabetes diary. So I can use my mobile phone via WAP or HTML or the browser to enter the data and my doctor can access my diary at any given time. One of our major concerns was that the openess of the web and the sensitivity of the data do not get together that well. Therefore our team decided that we will not collect any data that is related to the person that is managing the diary: no name, no mail address and so forth. This way we can really guarantee that the data can not be used against our users - even in the very unpleasant case that our server will be compromised by an attacker.

One of the problems is that German healthcare regulations will not allow to have accounting for these services. The remote consultation via email by sending a link to the shared Glucosurfer diary can not be accounted by the Doctor - at least not so easily. I think it will take some time for the German health insurance companies to recognize the true value of these new possibilities in the patient-doctor relation.

I thought Kaiser had a system where you login and send messages to your doctor and receive messages on the website only! I had no idea they allowed unencrypted personal emails to be exchanged between doctor/patient.

I take back my admiration for the Kaiser model.

Thanks for the clarification, Judith. A few years ago, when I was with Kaiser, it worked this way and I assumed from your post that they now send email messages directly to you telling you diagnosis, test results, etc. Good to know that that’s not true and that you still need to login and view the messages, etc on their secure website.

That D spam you got in your email maybe unrelated to your communication with Kaiser - it could be just a coincidence. Were you surfing the web looking for diabetes information? If so, some websites have ways of harvesting a lot of personal ifnormation from your visit simply by means of “cookies” and stuff…and there’s a lot of spyware out there, too.

I can email my endo’s nurse, but she usually responds with a request that I make an appointment.

I email my CDE… I prefer email to the phone, honestly, so it’s the first thing I try. She usually calls me back though… but we sometimes email back and forth. I guess it just depends on how important she feels it is, but with 3 kids, it’s often hard to have a phone conversation where I feel like I am actually able to process/respond appropriately… and not forget to bring something up (even if I write down what I want to talk about beforehand) so email makes that easier for me.

I am sure my doctor has email too, but I have never had to email her.

My CDE, Endo, and eye doc are all on Facebook (yes, I searched, ha!)… but I didn’t add them and don’t think I will :slight_smile: I think there’s something to be said for maintaining a somewhat professional relationship… and I don’t want to cross that line and open myself up to the messy parts of mine, nor do I necessarily want to see the messy parts of theirs either.

I have email addresses for the CDEs in my endo’s office and correspond with them. One of them joined here on TuDiabetes and several of them now have TuD cards hanging in their office. My endo’s nurse emails me A1c results, but I don’t correspond with my endo via email.

My CDE gave me her e-mail address, direct office number, and cell phone number and has encouraged me to use them as much as I’d like to. She’s always prompt in replying to e-mails. There is no security or privacy in exchanging e-mails but I’m just not concerned about that.

My family practice doc is part of a heathcare system that has a website with secure login. I can e-mail his office and indicate whether the message is for him alone or for his office in general. This system is secure – and all messages become part of my medical record. I once asked a question about myself and my son and they replied that they could address only me because the messages go into my medical records. My son was a minor and I had a proxy for him so I could e-mail them from his account. Then messages pertaining to him go into his medical records.

I also can access all of my health records back many years. There’s also part of the site that has informational articles. I love that system!

As for Facebook, etc, it never even occurred to me to look for my healthcare providers there. That’s a boundary issue for me, keeping my personal life separate from their personal lives. I’m not criticizing people who use Facebook, etc., that way, just sharing my thoughts.

My endo and his diabetes team are part of the Geisinger Health System in Danville, PA. The Geisinger system has a complete electronic system. I e-mail to and get responses from my doctors and nurses, I make appointments with them on my PC, I review my lab results there, I request prescriptions there and they are immediately transmitted to my local pharmacy. The Geisinger system has a number of clinics here in central Pennsylvania and my complete medical record is available to anybody at any of these clinics who has the authority to see them.

My endo gave me her e-mail address a long time ago. I find I use it rarely. My visits with her are sometimes a hour or more!
I use her fax number for prescripts that need refilling or notes to travel with my pump. I think that just knowing it is there to use gives me comfort.