Why this Boston physician gives his cellphone number to patients

Clement Bottino, MD, a pediatrician at Boston Children's Hospital, has given his cellphone number to patients since he started his practice in 2009.  

In an op-ed for WBUR, Dr. Bottino said he shares his number with more than 750 patients at his practice, along with hundreds of others during urgent care visits. In 2018, Dr. Bottino received 2,097 texts from patients with messages ranging from photos of rashes to videos of babies taking their first steps.

"Most of my paid clinical time is spent rushing through 15-minute visits and slogging through electronic paperwork. With texting, the rush disappears," he wrote. "Patients can text me when they want. ... I can answer questions, put worried parents' minds at ease and prevent unnecessary [emergency room] visits."

While Dr. Bottino's family and colleagues sometimes question his work-life balance, he said the texting communication "feels invigorating, the opposite of burnout."

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