E-psychiatry: uses and limitations.
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The importance of using e-mail as a mode of communication between physicians and patients is becoming more common and popular because of its speed and effectiveness. Though little research has been done on the use and impact of e-mail in psychiatry but evidence is available about its frequent use both by the patients and the psychiatrists. This review paper attempts to examine the importance of this mode of communication, with its risks and threats. The inherent limitations of the message transfer method and the magnitude of its usage with benefits and hazards, both for the doctors and patients, will also be analyzed. The recommended guidelines concerning its usage are also present. It is concluded that though e-mail communication is fast gaining popularity, its impact on psychiatry is yet to be seen keeping in view the importance of direct communication with patients in the practice of psychiatry. It appears that with the development of future technologies, e-psychiatry will become relatively risk free and a source of help for the general health care system.
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