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March 22, 2019

e–mail between patients and clinicians: the developing technical story

Prior to the roll out of NHSmail2 in 2016 NHS staff were used NHS mail to communicate securely with each other but emails to a patient were not secure. Some patients accepted this lack of security as their priority was access by email to their clinical team (1). With the roll out of NHSmail2 and its equivalents all NHS staff have been able to email patients securly. However, there are barriers for patient use. They have to register with the service and when they receive notification of an email they go through a website to open it. What is on the horizon is a system that is more streamlined for the patient to use within their normal email system, and one that allows the clinical team to easily set up safe processes for how to manage patient emails. Email communication can be fitted in and around daily life for patients and clinical team work patterns – it does not intrude unexpectedly like a phone call(1).

1. Griffiths F, Bryce C, Cave J, et al. Timely digital patient-clinician communication in specialist clinical services for young people: a mixed-methods study (the LYNC study). Journal of Medical Internet Research 2017;19(4)

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