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Email Management Strategies and Stress Among Primary Care Physicians

Email between patients and physicians has enhanced health care service but has made many primary care physicians feel overloaded. Many physicians multitask throughout the day by responding to email while seeing patients for in-person, telephone, and video visits. Many gaps in understanding exist about how to reduce stress associated with email in health care settings. The aims of this study are to 1) examine observed patterns of email management and multitasking based on computerized data, 2) describe the range of strategies physicians report using to manage email via a qualitative study, and 3) evaluate the extent to which email management patterns and strategies are associated with stress, as measured by self-report on a structured survey and heart-rate monitoring. This study’s results will offer guidance on how physicians may reduce stress associated with email management. The findings will also inform the design of a future interventional study to facilitate effective email management.

Investigator: Lieu, Tracy

Funder: The Permanente Medical Group

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