Can you email your Doctor?

I was going over Digg when I found an article written by Deb Marion of Ann Arbor Business Review. According to her article, a Harris Interactive Poll showed that a lot of Americans would like to have the convenience of emailing their physicians, however not all physicians are amenable to it. I am sure, it’s not just Americans who would like to have this kind of service.

A few weeks ago my son Gabby, was brought to the hospital. His aunt (his father’s sister) said he had a “seizure” (his hand was shaking) while they were having dinner at her place. This was the first time this has happened. A child neurologist diagnosed him with epilepsy, although I have serious doubts about this. His CT Scan and MRI results were negative, although there was a slight spike in his EEG test that indicates he had some focal seizure, and because of this my son is now “epileptic”. My son’s story to me was that he was consciously shaking his hand when he was having dinner. He was seeing “circles” or “flashing lights” in the corner of his eyes (he just finished playing psp) and the hand shaking was to get his aunts attention to what he was seeing. I tried to tell the doctor about this, but he believed his aunt more than my son’s story.

The neurologist had provided no cellphone, just a landline number to his clinic which is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays only. And his consultation is around 500pesos. He prescribed an anti-epileptic drug to my son, around 900pesos a bottle and he needs to regularly take this for two years! Im having nightmares on what this will do to his kidney!

If only we have doctors here in the Philippines who can take the time and write to their patients, or a portal where we can communicate to our physicians. When I was in Cebu, there was a clinic where you can go online and download your test results directly from their website (secure patient portal). It would be great if a doctors, dentists, hospitals, and clinics could make the most of the internet and email, not just for promoting or advertising their services, but to reach out to patients as well. when you go to the doctors clinic for the first time, they ask you to fill out an information sheet. they should include asking the email address of the patient as well!

I have yet to know a doctor here in the Philippines who emails their patients. The internet has been around for years, yet most of us still look at it as just a marketing tool. Doctors may complain that this would take too much of their time reading all the email one by one, but they have clinic receptionists to handle all their appointments for them don’t they? Why not include this additional service as well? How about you? Can you email your doctor?

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