Thursday, April 14, 2011

Doctors, patients, internet, information and wisdom

“What can you possibly learn from your doctor that is not available on the Internet?” We suspect we'll hear such radical sentiments increasingly in the future. Knowledge is said to be power, and some of the past imbalance of power between patient and doctor may be equalized. But information and knowledge do not equal wisdom, and it is too easy for nonexperts to take at face value statements made confidently by voices of authority. Physicians are in the best position to weigh information and advise patients, drawing on their understanding of available evidence as well as their training and experience. If anything, the wealth of information on the Internet will make such expertise and experience more essential. The doctor, in our view, will never be optional."

Actually, there are some things which the internet can teach patients far better than the doctor
can ! Youtube videos ( on how to take your IVF injections for example) can be played and replayed - and websites don't lose their patience with patients ! Also, many doctors are often not very good at teaching because they cannot stop using medical jargon.

Websites and doctors are all tools which a smart patient should have in their medical tool box. The real mark of a wise patient is that she knows which tool to use at which time !

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