With the recent explosion in interest in and use of various types of telehealth services, patients are becoming used to getting in touch with their health care provider through their home computer or cellphone. We celebrate the increase in channels for communication and hope that it will result in better accessibility to health care for all. However, we also have to be aware of work load issues for our physicians and staff. Some practices have registered a doubling in email volume in the past three years. Since the number of hours in the day has not doubled, we are spending more time that used to be devoted to something else in answering email.
While some practices are charging for many types of email inquiries, including questions about medication changes, new symptoms, checkups on long-term conditions, etc., Gateway Psychiatric is at present only charging for answers to emails that require more than 5 minutes work by a clinician. We do not charge for standard administrative emails such as scheduling appointments, or getting prescription refills.
Gateway Psychiatric also offers online telehealth services that are billed separately, please see more information about telehealth here.
Mostly, we just want to remind everyone that medical consultations are professional services, and are not like texts that can expect an instant response at any time. We remain committed to providing the best quality and most accessible psychiatric care possible and we appreciate your support and understanding as we all learn to navigate new technologies as they become available.