Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Confused by Dr. Google ?



Infertile patients are thirsty for information  and they spend a lot of time online, exploring their treatment options . Ideally , patients would be able to get all the information they wanted from their doctor. However, doctors can be very busy, and many are not very good at simplifying and explaining stuff to their patients. This is why many infertile women will spend hours on the net, scouring the web for the latest research and the best clinic. They want to find reliable information, which will help them to identify the best IVF doctors and the best treatment protocol, so that they can maximize their chances of getting pregnant .

While this is a great idea in theory, sadly sometimes the results of this search leave a lot to be desired. Information on the net is not regulated , which is why it can be of widely varying quality.  This can leave many unsophisticated patients even more confused. When patients use Dr Google for help, they often end up getting perplexed because it can be quite frustrating to find the elusive needle in the haystack !

There are tons of websites – but often the information one provide contradicts what other websites say, and the patient is not sure whom to trust . A lot of the sites which rank high on google are commercial sites, which are trying to sell their herbal supplements or fertility kits. Because these sites are out to make money, they spend lots of money on making sure they appear on the first page of google, which means they are easy to find, but this does not make their information trustworthy !

Even information on IVF clinic websites can be diametrically opposite from each other  - especially when it comes to controversial areas such as immune testing for NK cells, for example.  Also, many websites just copy and paste content from other websites, and thanks to this plagiarism, it’s hard to judge which clinic is better than the other.

While a lot of the information online comes from patients ( on forums and blogs) , you don’t know how much of an expert the patient really is. Is she just going by her personal experience ( which doctors call an anecdotal success story), or has she really done a lot of research and is then distilling her wisdom to share with others ?

Searching for information often becomes an obsession, and many women spend hours on end online. This creates a lot of resentment among their husbands, most of whom believe that a little knowledge can be dangerous, and that medical decisions are best left up to the doctor.

Mother in laws often pooh-pooh the results of these searches, because they feel the patient is trying to play at being a doctor. This search just seems to be adding to her stress levels , rather than reducing it.

Doctors can also get quite irritated by internet positive patients, who bring pages of printouts of information which are obsolete or incorrect.

If you are confused by Dr Google, and your doctor is not willing to help you work through your doubts and confusion, here’s a simple solution !

Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/malpaniform.htm , and I’ll be happy to provide you with my opinion . This opinion is free , and comes with no strings attached . If I can help infertile couples to have a baby thanks to the fact that I'm willing to share my knowledge with them, I would be more than happy that I am fulfilling my duties as a good doctor !

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