According to The Radicati Group’s Email Statistics Report 2014-2018, 108.7 billion emails are sent from 4.1 billion email accounts daily. Depending on your practice setting and other variables, email may sometimes be the most efficient way to communicate with colleagues, staff members, patients, and locum tenens staffing firms, not to mention family and friends. For locum tenens practitioners, practice setting can change often, calling for flexibility in your communication styles, frequency, and email reliance.
Some email communications necessitate lengthy, detailed conversations while, for others, short, to-the-point responses are socially and professionally acceptable. Thanks to suggestions made by Physicians Practice, we’ve amassed tips for practicing email etiquette, applicable for use with a range of
recipients in a variety of practice settings.
- Use an accurate subject line
According to The Radicati Group’s report, business users send and receive an average of 121 emails per day, at least 10 of which are marked as spam. Oftentimes, emails are marked as spam due to a confusing, insufficient, or missing subject line. Avoid this conundrum by including a succinct, yet descriptive, subject line for every email.
- Keep paragraphs concise
Maximize your recipient’s time by writing brief paragraphs, including as much detail as the topic requires in as few words as possible. Physicians Practice suggests choosing your words carefully so you get the most impact for the space.
- Avoid emailing items better handled in person or over the phone
This tip is especially important when notifying patients of test results and relaying sensitive health information. Calling the patient or requesting a follow-up appointment for an in-person discussion may be the most appropriate way to communicate such matters.
- Be mindful of response times
Many locum tenens practitioners work a wide range of shifts, sometimes outside of regular business hours. If email is an integral part of your daily communications, consider setting aside time during and between shifts, so as to not overlook important, time-sensitive emails. Physicians Practice suggests responding to patient emails sent during business hours within four hours. Intra-office emails often require faster response times.
- Use common courtesies
Please, thank you, and you’re welcome are as important in emails as they are in everyday conversation. Tone can be difficult to convey in emails. Common courtesies may also help overcome the lack of vocal intonation.
- Use proper capitalization and grammar
Sending informal emails may be acceptable in some practice settings, particularly with colleagues. But correct grammar, capitalization, and punctuation help informal emails retain a sense of professionalism, and emails to patients call for a bit more formality. Avoid using acronyms and abbreviations that may be confusing to patients.
- Remember your signature
Ensure your email signature is at the bottom of each email. Within your signature, give at least one or two alternate ways to communicate with you—an office phone number or fax number, for instance.