Promotion of Online Communication Skills of Doctors with their Patients

german translation / full article

Sabine Schmidt-Weitmann, Christiane Brockes

Keywords: doctor-patient communication health literacy online consultation service patient education telemedicine

Introduction: Modern information and communication technologies are used in many fields of the healthcare system and require new skills and competencies in communicating with patients. The aim of the retrospective analysis was to evaluate the content of e-mail inquiries addressed to the contact e-mail address of the online consultation service of the University Hospital Zurich.Methods: The retrospective study analyzed the content of the e-mail inquiries from 2015 to May 2017 by means of inductive classification (codematrix) as described by MAYRING and the text analysis program Maxqda 10 (VERBI software). Statistical frequency and distribution were calculated.Results: Out of a total of 557 e-mails, 20.8 % (n = 116) presented with administrative and process-oriented content and 30.3 % (n = 169) with medical content. The inquirers received an immediate response to general-internistic, dermatological and accident-related complaints in 38.5 %, while in 33.1 %, a clinic-specific specialist consultation was additionally recommended. Using an e-learning platform, a concept for answering e-mails with medical content has been developed for the training of medical students and physicians at the University of Zurich.Conclusions: An e-mail-based communication between doctor and patient can make a significant contribution to patient education through a structured approach and therefore promote individual health literacy. The safe handling of digital technologies must take into account the special circumstances of a location- and time-independent communication.

(State: 15.02.2018)

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