New ACP position paper explores ethical guidance for electronic patient-physician communication

The paper offers recommendations for navigating e-communication, privacy and confidentiality, and practice considerations to try to align patient and physician expectations.


In a new ACP position paper, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, ACP provides guidance for e-communications in order to maintain strong and trusted patient-physician relationships and expectations. The position paper, “American College of Physicians Ethical Guidance for Electronic Patient-Physician Communication: Aligning Expectations,” was developed by the ACP Ethics, Professionalism and Human Rights Committee and offers recommendations for physicians and patients for navigating e-communication, focusing on ethics and professionalism in patient care; privacy and confidentiality; and practice considerations to try to align patient and physician expectations. It examines email, patient portals, and texting and messaging applications between patient and physician, noting that communication is critical to strong patient-physician relationships and high-quality health care. Recent advances in health information technology have changed how patients and their doctors interact, and e-communications occur through means of email, patient portals, texting, and messaging.

Read the paper in the Journal of General Internal Medicine (login required).