Table 2

Potential Decisions Regarding Response to Unsolicited E-mail From an Unknown Person

Maintain a high junk-mail filter so as to avoid knowing that e-mails have been received
Do not open e-mails from unknown senders as a matter of policy
Set an automatic reply that unsolicited e-mails are not read or replied to
Read e-mail, but choose not to reply for various reasons
Read e-mail, acknowledge by thanking sender, politely stating that you are unable to assist and declining further contact
Read e-mail, give general reply and clarify that there is not a doctor–patient relationship and that you are unable to provide medical advice; encourage sender to seek help in sender's own area; and record your course of action