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Communicating with patients via e-mail: is it a good idea?

As e-mail becomes an everyday part of more people's lives--and an important part of the way business is done--optometrists are naturally beginning to use it with patients. However, e-mail communication with patients creates a new set of potential dangers that doctors must consider: What defines the doctor-patient relationship? Should diagnoses be made and delivered via e-mail? How can privacy and confidentiality be maintained? Can marketing be done tastefully via e-mail? This author addresses each of these issues from a medico-legal perspective and offers advice on professional, ethical ways to communicate with patients via e-mail.

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