J Am Med Inform Assoc 5:104-111 doi:10.1136/jamia.1998.0050104
  • The Practice of Informatics
  • White Paper

Guidelines for the Clinical Use of Electronic Mail with Patients

  1. Beverley Kane,
  2. Daniel Z Sands for the AMIA Internet Working Group, Task Force on Guidelines for the Use of Clinic–Patient Electronic Mail
  1. Affiliation of the authors: American Medical Informatics Association, Bethesda, MD
  1. Correspondence and reprints: Beverley Kane, MD, Philips Multimedia Center, 1070 Arastradero, Palo Alto, CA 94304. e-mail: 〈bkane{at}
  • Received 18 July 1997
  • Accepted 22 September 1997


Guidelines regarding patient–provider electronic mail are presented. The intent is to provide guidance concerning computer-based communications between clinicians and patients within a contractual relationship in which the health-care provider has taken on an explicit measure of responsibility for the client's care. The guidelines address two interrelated aspects: effective interaction between the clinician and patient, and observance of medicolegal prudence. Recommendations for site-specific policy formulation are included.


  • These guidelines were endorsed by the Board of Directors of AMIA in June 1997. Members of the task force are: Beverley Kane, MD, Chair; Ted Cooper, MD, Tom Ferguson, MD, Joseph Kannry, MD, Tim Kieschnick, Gretchen Murphy, Edward Anthony Oppenheimer, MD, Thomas Payne, MD, Larry Pfisterer, and Daniel Z. Sands, MD, MPH.

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