Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pondering Case Management Services Being Done through Email

Every once in a while, usually right after getting a quick response to an email I sent a provider, I think about how great it would be to communicate more through email. To share an update on a client's situation, easily change an appointment time, remind a provider that yes, I still exist and am still waiting on his answer. No need to be on hold for 15 minutes to be told that the person I'm looking for is actually not working today. Not to mention avoid playing the phone tag game where communication is only being done through voice mail. Some clients, though for me it's more of a rarity, prefer to communicate through email rather than by phone when we're not meeting face to face. Emailing may mean being able to respond to their questions more quickly.

Emailing brings its own issues though. Like emailing back and forth and after round 4 realizing that even though I thought I was being very clear in my email my question is still not being answered. Or while carefully writing paragraph updating a provider of what took place with the client I think how I could easily explain all of this in two minutes over a phone conversation.

The meaning of an email message may be misunderstood. An email's tone may be misread. That's why at times I'm very careful in my wording in emails (particularly when it comes to correspondences with clients), going as far as asking a staff member to look over a specific message to make sure what I'm trying to say is what's coming across. Unlike a phone call, a reader has more time to reread the same statement without being able to easily ask for clarification or respond as easily as in a phone call. From experience, I generally avoid e-mail correspondences with clients unless it's to share resources or general information.

At the end too, the expectation I have that a provider will be able to respond to me quickly (more quickly than a phone call) is similar to her expectation that I'll do the same -- not to mention a client's expectation that I'll answer her question quickly. With some emails it's easier to respond quickly than others, not to mention the other tasks that need to get done for the day outside the email universe.

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