For general release 3/26/2001


Major Advance Separates Useful from Burdensome Patient-to-Doctor's Office E-mail Communications

Beverly Hills, CA, March 26, 2001.  EveryMD.com has launched a new, free online service that allows doctors' offices to receive online prescription refill and appointment scheduling requests from patients via the doctor's office's fax machine. The new service, called the "Doctor E-Mailer" (TM), allows doctors to satisfy their patients' increasing desires to communicate online without subjecting doctors and their office staff to the problems normally associated with e-mail or web-based patient/physician communication systems.

Surveys have consistently shown that consumers would like to be able to communicate with their physicians online for appointment scheduling, prescription refills, and medical consultations. While most physicians recognize the value and efficiency gains that would result from the first two types of online communications, appointment scheduling and prescription refill requests, doctors, legitimately, view the third, online medical consultations, as being fraught with problems. As a result, most physicians have been reluctant to open their office doors to any kind of online communications.

To physicians there is a huge difference between receiving e-mails from patients regarding administrative matters such as scheduling appointments and renewing prescriptions, which can be handled by office staff and which doctors consider efficient, and receiving e-mail requests for medical advice and consultations, which is a time sink for them. Unfortunately, doctors wanting to provide their patients with non-consulting online communication with their offices have until now had no satisfactory means for doing so.

Previously, the only online connectivity options available to physicians were ordinary internet e-mail, whose volume and content cannot be controlled, or Web-based messaging systems, which involve out-of-pocket Internet connectivity costs as well as significant physician and staff time costs of learning and using new systems. Even a free service to doctors isn't a free service if doctors and their staff must considerably change the way they practice medicine to be able to use it.

In contrast, EveryMD's "Doctor E-Mailer" (TM) service provides doctors with an immediate online connectivity solution that is free, controllable, and effortless. EveryMD's unique patent-pending system allows doctors' offices to receive online prescription refill and appointment scheduling requests from patients via the existing fax machines.  No other kinds of communications are allowed and the size and content of the messages are strictly controlled to prevent misuse.

To use the Doctor E-Mailer service, a patient must use special e-mail templates at the EveryMD.com website, which are converted to faxes and sent by EveryMD to the doctor's office fax machine. These templates insure that all patient messages received by a doctor's office adhere to the following terms:

  • Messages are limited to requests for appointments and requests for prescription refills only. The design of the templates specifically prevents a patient from entering information other than that necessary for the selected type of request (appointment or prescription refill).  

  • Patients are not allowed to send medical questions or otherwise seek online consultations.

  • Messages are consistent, clear, and never exceed one page.

Furthermore, unlike other web-based physician services, EveryMD's service is truly "cost-free" to the physician and the practice. There is no website with which to register, there are no medical profiles to safeguard, and no training is required. The doctor does not need to have access to the Internet, an e-mail account, website, or even a computer. The service is free to both physicians and their patients, and does not require any action whatsoever on the part of a doctor or the doctor's staff. 

To implement its service, EveryMD is establishing a unique doctorname@everymd.com e-mail address and www.doctorname.everymd.com website containing basic doctor information for each licensed doctor in the United States. So far, e-mail addresses and websites have been created for nearly 70% of US doctors with fax machines.

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U.S. Patents Nos. 6,671,714 and 7,644,122
Other Patents Pending