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Abstract

E-health, telehealth and telemedicine all describe the use of telecommunication and electronic information technology for the provision of health care at a distance. Interest in telemedicine has been heightened recently due to technological advances making equipment more effective and accessible, and increasing healthcare costs and client expectations creating pressures to find alternative modes of healthcare delivery. Although telemedicine suffers from a lack of conclusive evidence regarding its clinical effectiveness, primarily because it has not been adequately evaluated, its popularity and acceptance, particularly amongst lay persons, continues to increase. With the rapid increase in internet use, email, an electronic communication medium, has the potential to radically alter the culture of health-care. Despite a number of logistical issues related to its use, there is high consumer demand for email consultations, yet only 2% of clinicians currently offer them. As issues surrounding security, workflow, liability and workflow are resolved, email will impact increasingly of clinical service delivery.

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