The relevance of existing health communication models in the email age: An integrative literature review
Keywords:doctor–patient communication, email, health communication models, integrative literature review, patients’ perspectives
AbstractEmail communication is being integrated relatively slowly into doctor–patient communication. Patients have expressed enthusiasm for the medium, while doctors are generally more reluctant. As existing health communication models have characteristically assumed the copresence of doctor and patient and primarily reflect medical practitioners’ perspectives, their suitability in relation to email communication and patients’ perspectives warrants further investigation. Following a two-step process and using the methodology of the integrative literature review, 29 articles from 2004–2014 are analysed with the aim of investigating the advantages and disadvantages of the medium of email from the patient’s perspective. The findings are compared to the health communication models of biomedicine, patient-centeredness, patient education and patient empowerment to investigate these models’ relevance for doctor–patient email communication. Results show that patients identify numerous advantages with email communication, including improved convenience and access, more detailed informational exchanges, greater reflection opportunities, freedom from the medical gaze and the potential to level out power imbalances, as well as a number of primarily medium-related disadvantages. The findings indicate that email can counteract some of the communicative problems associated with biomedicine and suggest the ongoing relevance of aspects of the models of patient empowerment, patient-centeredness and patient education for email communication.
Anand, S. G., Feldman, M. J., Geller, D. S., Bisbee, A. and Bauchner, H. (2005) A content analysis of e-mail communication between primary care providers and parents. Pediatrics 115 (5): 1283–1288. http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2004-1297
Andreassen, H.K. (2011) What does an e-mail address add? Doing health and technology at home. Social Science and Medicine 72 (4): 521–528. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.11.026.
Andreassen, H. K., Trondsen, M., Kummervold, P. E., Gammon, D. and Hjortdahl, P. (2006) Patients who use e-mediated communication with their doctor: New constructions of trust in the patient–doctor relationship. Qualitative Health Research 16 (2): 238–248. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1049732305284667
Atherton, C., Car, J. and Meyer, B. (2009) Email for clinical communication between patients/caregivers and healthcare professionals. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 3: 1–16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD007978.pub2
Atherton, H., Pappas, Y., Heneghan, C. and Murray, E. (2013) Experiences of using email for general practice consultations: A qualitative study. British Journal of General Practice 63 (616): e760–7. http://dx.doi.org/10.3399/bjgp13X674440
Balint, E. (1969) The possibilities of patient-centered medicine. Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners 17 (82): 269–276.
Beisecker, A. E. and Beisecker, T. D. (1993) Using metaphors to characterize doctor–patient relationships: Paternalism versus consumerism. Health Communication 5 (1): 41–58. http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15327027hc0501_3
Bhuvaneswar, C. G. C. and Gutheil, T. G. T. (2008) E-mail and psychiatry: Some psychotherapeutic and psychoanalytic perspectives. American Journal of Psychotherapy 62 (3): 241–261.
Car, J. and Sheikh, A. (2004a) Email consultations in health care: 2 – acceptability and safe application. British Medical Journal 329: 439–442. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7463.439
Car, J. and Sheikh, A. (2004b) Email consultations in health care: 1 – scope and effectiveness. British Medical Journal 329: 435–438. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7463.435
Collins, G. B., McAllister, M. S. and Ford, D. B. (2007) Patient–provider e-mail communication as an adjunctive tool in addiction medicine. Journal of Addictive Diseases 26 (2): 45–52. http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J069v26n02_06
Engel, G. L. (1977) The need for a new medical model: A challenge for biomedicine. Science 196 (4286): 129–136. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.847460
Eysenbach, G. (2001) What is e-health? Journal of Medical Internet Research 3 (2). http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/jmir.3.2.e20
Fage-Butler, A. (2013) Including patients’ perspectives in patient information leaflets: A polyocular approach. Fachsprache 35 (3/4): 140–154.
Feste, C. and Anderson, R. M. (1995) Empowerment: From philosophy to practice. Patient Education and Counseling 26 (1–3): 139–144. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0738-3991(95)00730-N
Foucault, M. (1972) The Archaeology of Knowledge. New York: Pantheon.
Giddens, A. (1990) The Consequences of Modernity. Cambridge: Polity.
Giordano, J. and Benedikter, R. (2011) The shifting architectonics of pain medicine: Toward ethical realignment of scientific, medical and market values for the emerging global community: Groundwork for policy. Pain Medicine 12 (3): 406–414. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01055.x
Hansen, C. S., Christensen, K. L. and Ertmann, R. (2014) Patients and general practitioners have different approaches to e-mail consultations. Danish Medical Journal 61 (6): 1–4.
Hartgers, M. and Jatoi, A. (2010) E-Mail and photographs: A case report of a patient-initiated diagnostic tool in the era of electronic communication. Journal of Palliative Medicine 13 (3): 335–337. http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2009.0215
Houston, T. K., Sands, D. Z., Jenckes, M. W. and Ford, D. E. (2004) Experiences of patients who were early adopters of electronic communication with their physician: Satisfaction, benefits, and concerns. The American Journal of Managed Care 10 (9): 601–608.
Hsiao, A. L., Bazzy-Asaad, A., Tolomeo, C., Edmonds, D., Belton, B. and Benin, A.L. (2011) Secure web messaging in a pediatric chronic care clinic: A slow takeoff of ‘Kids’ airmail’. Pediatrics 127 (2): e406–e413. http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2010-1086
Katzen, C., Solan, M. J. and Dicker, A. P. (2005) E-mail and oncology: A survey of radiation oncology patients and their attitudes to a new generation of health communication. Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases 8 (2): 189–193. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.pcan.4500797
Kelly, R. B. (2011) Patient education. In E. Rakel and D. P. Rakel (eds) Textbook of Family Medicine, 160–165. Eighth edition. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders.
Klinar, I., Balazin, A., Basic, M., Plantas, I. and Biskupic, K. (2010) Increased demand for e-mail health consultation service: Analysis of a web survey. Collegicum Antropologicum 34 (2): 481–485.
Lang, K. T. and Kiel, J. M. (2008) An analysis of the utilization of e-mail by physicians and patients. Journal of Healthcare Information Management 22 (2): 27–32.
Luo, J., Logan, C., Long, T. P. and Bercovitch, L. (2009) Cyberdermatoethics I: Ethical, legal, technologic, and clinical aspects of patient–physician e-mail. Clinics in Dermatology 27 (4): 359–366. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clindermatol.2009.02.008
Lupton, D. (2003) Medicine as Culture: Illness, Disease and the Body in Western Societies. London: Sage.
McGeady, D., Kujala, J. and Ilvonen, K. (2008) The impact of patient–physician web messaging on healthcare service provision. International Journal of Medical Informatics 77 (1): 17–23. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2006.11.004.
Neville, R. G., Marsden, W., McCowan, C., Pagliari, C., Mullen, H. and Fannin, A. (2004) Email consultations in general practice. Informatics in Primary Care 12 (4): 207–214.
Pentland, D., Forsyth, K., Maciver, D., Walsh, M., Murray, R., Irvine, L. and Sikora, S. (2011) Key characteristics of knowledge transfer and exchange in healthcare: Integrative literature review. Journal of Advanced Nursing 67 (7): 1408–1425. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2648.2011.05631.x
Plener, I., Hayward, A. and Saibil, F. (2014) E-mail communication in the management of gastroenterology patients: A review. Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 28 (3): 161–
Pollock, K. (2005) Concordance in Medical Consultations. Abingdon: Radcliffe Publishing.
Recupero, P. R. (2005) E-mail and the psychiatrist–patient relationship. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 33 (4): 465–475.
Roter, D., Larson, S., Sands, D. Z., Ford, D. E. and Houston, T. (2008) Can e-mail messages between patients and physicians be patient-centered? Health Communication 23 (1): 80–86. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10410230701807295
Schiller, J. H., Christner, J. G., Stansfield, R. B., Watnick, C. S. and Mullan, P. B. (2013) What parents want from emails with their pediatrician: Implications for teaching communication skills. Patient Education and Counseling 92 (1) 61–66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2013.02.012
Tjora, A., Tran, T. and Faxvaag, A. (2005) Privacy vs usability: A qualitative exploration of patients’ experiences with secure internet communication with their general practitioner. Journal of Medical Internet Research 7 (2): e15. http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/jmir.7.2.e15
Torraco, R. J. (2005). Writing integrative literature reviews: Guidelines and examples. Human Resource Development Review 4 (3): 356–367. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1534484305278283
Wallwiener, M., Wallwiener, C. W., Kansy, J. K., Seeger, H. and Rajab, T. K. (2009) Impact of electronic messaging on the patient–physician interaction. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare 15 (5): 243–250. http://dx.doi.org/10.1258/jtt.2009.090111
Weiss, N. (2004) E-mail consultation: Clinical, financial, legal, and ethical implications. Surgical Neurology 61 (5): 455–459. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.surneu.2003.09.029
Whittemore, R. and Knafl, K. (2005) The integrative review: Updated methodology. Journal of Advanced Nursing 52 (5): 546–553. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2648.2005.03621.x
Wong, R. K. M., Tan, J. S. M. and Drossman, D. A. (2010) Here’s my phone number, don’t call me: Physician accessibility in the cell phone and e-mail era. Digestive Diseases and Sciences 55 (3): 662–667. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10620-009-1089-5
Ye, J., Rust, G., Fry-Johnson, Y. and Strothers, H. (2010) E-mail in patient–provider communication: A systematic review. Patient Education and Counseling 80 (2): 266–273. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2009.09.038
How to Cite
copyright Equinox Publishing Ltd.