Proper Email Listserv Etiquette for Healthcare Providers

In today’s fast-paced digital age, effective communication is essential, especially in the healthcare industry. Email listservs have become a vital tool for healthcare providers to stay connected, share insights, and […]


In today’s fast-paced digital age, effective communication is essential, especially in the healthcare industry. Email listservs have become a vital tool for healthcare providers to stay connected, share insights, and collaborate. Not to mention share and receive referrals! However, maintaining professionalism and courtesy in these online forums is crucial. In this blog post, we will explore proper email listserv etiquette for healthcare providers to ensure productive and respectful communication.

1. Respect Privacy and Confidentiality:

  • Always be mindful of patient confidentiality and privacy regulations. Never share sensitive patient information on a listserv, even in vague terms.
  • Use general, de-identified examples if you need to discuss patient cases for educational purposes.

2. Clear and Descriptive Subject Lines:

  • When sending emails to the listserv, create subject lines that clearly convey the topic of your message. This helps recipients quickly understand the content.
  • Avoid vague subject lines like “Question” or “Help Needed.”
  • Instead be specific: “Seeking referral for adult with depression self pay” or “Office space for rent midtown”

3. Stay On-Topic:

  • Sana Network Listservs are organized around sharing information, referrals, about clinical practice and business matters. Ensure your messages are relevant to the group’s focus.
  • Avoid sending unrelated content, as it can clutter inboxes and detract from the purpose of the listserv.

4. Be Concise:

  • Respect your colleagues’ time by keeping your messages brief and to the point. Long, convoluted emails can be challenging to digest.
  • Use bullet points or numbered lists for clarity when discussing multiple points.

5. Avoid Overuse of Reply All:

  • Consider whether your response needs to go to the entire listserv. If not, reply only to the sender unless it’s genuinely beneficial to the group.
  • Overusing “Reply All” can lead to email fatigue for recipients.

6. Use Professional Language:

  • Maintain a professional and courteous tone in all your communications. Avoid sarcasm, offensive language, or personal attacks.
  • Remember that your words reflect your professionalism as a healthcare provider.

7. Proofread Before Sending:

  • Typos and grammatical errors can undermine your credibility. Always proofread your messages before hitting “send.”
  • Clear, error-free communication demonstrates your attention to detail.

8. Provide Credible Sources:

  • When sharing information or research findings, cite credible sources. This helps build trust within the listserv community.
  • Avoid spreading unverified or questionable information.

9. Respect Differences of Opinion:

  • In healthcare, there can be multiple valid approaches to a problem. Respect the diversity of opinions within the group.
  • Constructive debates can lead to better understanding and collaboration.

10. Be Mindful of Attachments:

  • Only attach files when necessary. Large attachments can burden email systems and be frustrating for recipients.
  • Consider using cloud-based sharing services for larger files and provide links instead.
  • Sana Network attachment limit size is: 25600kb (25mg).

11. Follow Listserv Rules:

  • If the listserv has specific rules or guidelines, be sure to follow them. These rules are typically in place to ensure a positive and productive environment. Here are Sana Network’s Listserv rules:
    • Please send an email to to send out message to entire listserv
    • Please be mindful about HIPAA when emailing or responding to emails about referral
    • Please reply to individuals directly rather than entire listserv. This keeps other members happy 🙂
    • Please make sure to introduce yourself and/or your practice to the group after joining.
    • Learn more about listserv uses and etiquette here:
    • Be respectful and enjoy!

12. Use Private Messaging for Personal Matters:

  • If you need to address a personal or off-topic issue with another member, use private messaging or email to maintain professionalism.
  • Did you know that you can private message other members when logged into your account, much like any other social media site.


Effective communication is a cornerstone of quality healthcare, and proper email listserv etiquette plays a significant role in achieving this. By adhering to these guidelines, healthcare providers can contribute to a respectful, productive, and collaborative online environment. Remember, your words have the power to shape the perception of your professionalism and dedication to patient care.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Written by ChatGPT & Reviewed by Clinical Psychologist: Yoendry Torres, Psy.D.