To us, the people and organisations that are the most likely to be accountable for what they do and say are those that are prepared to put things in writing.
If things are in writing, (a) it lessens the chance of miscommunication, (b) it makes it easier to get second opinions on what is said – if they are not in writing, this can be difficult, if not impossible, (c) it makes it easy to let others know what they are like – as we’re always saying, “By their emails ye shall know them.” And as we say, it makes those who put things in writing accountable for what they do and say.
And, of course, these days the easiest way to put things in writing is to do it with emails, and the easiest way for people and organisations to invite people to put things in writing is to provide ordinary email addresses – and this applies as much as anything to doctors. So, to us:-
The best people and organisations to deal with are those that have ordinary email addresses and who provide high quality responses when these ordinary email addresses are used to seek help and information.
The next best are those that have email forms, and who provide high quality responses when these ordinary email forms are used to seek help and information, and these responses are provided using ordinary email addresses that can be used in the future.
The next best are those who have email forms, and who provide high quality responses when these ordinary email forms are used to seek help and information, and these responses are provided with ordinary email addresses that CAN’T be used in the future – you have to use the email forms again if you want to seek any further help and information. Most annoying!
The next best just have fax numbers, (so last century!) or perhaps even just phone numbers. You have to scramble around to find something that works.
The worst don’t even acknowledge requests for help and information no matter which way they are sent!
To us, realising this is exciting – it has so many applications, it makes it so much easier to decide which are the best to deal with and which may not be the best.
Of course, this is all about competition. It’s no use us wanting the best to deal with if there are none like that. As an example, in Sydney at least, it seems virtually impossible, if not completely impossible, to find GPs who have ordinary email addresses, and who provide high quality responses to requests for help and information using these email addresses. And to an extent, it’s like this with Specialists, although much less so.
And with doctors in NSW Health hospitals, it seems virtually impossible to find any who have ordinary email addresses, let alone those who have ordinary email addresses, and when they are used to seek help and information, high quality responses are received. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise us if, to encourage doctors to come and work in NSW Health hospitals, (and, in fact, doctors in private hospitals, like Ramsay Health Care hospitals as well,) that they are told, “Come and work for us, and you’ll never have to provide a response to email in your whole life.”
It’s going to be interesting to see how this all works out – providing high quality responses to requests for help and information involves employing high quality people, and high quality people don’t come cheaply, and it’s natural for people and organisations to try and be successful without this expense – and perhaps we, the people, will let them.
It’s ironical – in our searching over the last 12 years for the best doctors, one of our readers claims to come across a Cardiologist who seems highly qualified and exceptionally busy, but who has an ordinary email address and who seems to find the time to provide high quality responses to emails sent to him, which he’s done for our reader on 3 occasions, for which he absolutely refuses payment! We daren’t disclose his identity in case doctors in general and medical organisations generally come down on him like a ton of bricks for doing this.