EMAIL Policy of Rutherford Medical Clinic
We are pleased to provide patients with email communication services at Rutherford Medical Clinic. Please read this Email Policy and complete our Electronic Communication Consent Form below to take advantage of this service.
WE INTEND TO USE EMAIL COMMUNICATION FOR THE FOLLOWING PURPOSES:
- Sending Lab or Diagnostic Imaging requisitions for follow up investigations.
- Communicating specialist appointment information to the patient.
- Periodic updates regarding flu shot clinics, holiday hours and other general information.
EMAIL WILL NOT BE USED to discuss or diagnose any medical issues or to book appointments as it is intended to be primarily used for one-way communication to patients. To book an appointment or seek medical assistance, the patient should call our office at 905-264-8311.
Email should never be used for emergency problems. In the event of an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Email communication offers many benefits but required safeguards that differ from other forms of communication, such as paper documents, telephone and fax. Our office staff and physicians use reasonable means to protect the security and confidentiality of any emails sent and/or received. However because of the risks identified below, we cannot fully guarantee the security and confidentiality of email communication.
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH USING EMAIL
Some of the key risks associated with communicating by email include but are not limited to:
- Employers and other third parties may have a legal right to inspect and keep emails that pass through their system;
- Email is easier to falsify than handwritten or signed hard copies. In addition, it is impossible to verify the true identity of the sender, or to ensure that only the recipient can read the email once it has been sent;
- Emails can introduce viruses into a computer system, and potentially damage or disrupt the computer;
- Email can be forwarded, intercepted, circulated, stored or even changed without the knowledge or permission of the physician or the patient;
- Email senders may misaddress an email resulting in it being sent to unintended recipients;
- Email is indelible. Even after the sender and recipient have deleted their copies of the email, back-up copies may exist on a computer or in cyberspace; and
- Email can be used as evidence in court.
PATIENT OBLIGATIONS WHEN CONSENTING TO EMAIL
The physician will use reasonable means to protect the security and confidentiality of emails. However, because of the risks outlined above, the physician cannot guarantee the security and confidentiality of email communication and will not be liable for improper disclosure of confidential information.
In order to receive email communications from Rutherford Medical Clinic, patients must provide prior written consent. Consent to the use of email includes agreement with the following conditions:
- The patient shall not use email to discuss medical issues or request medical advice;
- Email communication is not an appropriate substitute for clinical examinations;
- Email service is primarily intended to be a one-way communication system whereby Rutherford Medical Clinic can communicate with you regarding administrative matters such as specialty appointments, office information, etc.;
- Emails to or from the patient may be printed in full and made part of the patient’s medical record. Because they are part of the medical record, other individuals authorized to access the medical record, such as administrative staff, will have access to those emails;
- Physicians and/or office staff at Rutherford Medical Clinic may forward emails internally to one another in order to ensure we provide you with appropriate service. We will not, however, forward emails to independent third parties without the patient’s prior written consent, except as authorized or required by law;
- The physician is not responsible for information loss due to technical failures;
- The patient is responsible for informing the office if the patient no longer wishes to receive email communications from Rutherford Medical Clinic; and
- It is the patient’s responsibility to notify Rutherford Medical Clinic in writing if the patient wishes to receive email communications to an email address other than the one provided below.