Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why it's unethical for doctors not to have their own website

Many doctors are still worried that it's unethical to have a personal website.They feel that this amounts to advertising, and that a website is a way of soliciting patients.

I strongly disagree. In fact, I feel it's unethical for a doctor not to have their own website ! The word doctor is derived from the word, " docere", which means to teach. This clearly means that one of the key responsibilities of a doctor is to teach their patients. While many doctors do this face to face, the amount of teaching which can be done this way is very limited - and a conversation is not the best way of transmitting information.

Doctors who publish their own websites communicate with their patients online - and a website is a much more powerful tool of reaching out to thousands of people who are looking for information ! If the doctor wants to be sure his website is popular and gets lots of traffic, he needs to provide information on his website which is of value to patients, which means his website has to be full of patient educational content . Good doctor's websites are not all about the doctor - they are all about the patient !

A website allows a doctor to provide authentic , reliable updated information to patients. This information is local - and can be provided in the regional language ! Since it's provided by a trusted figure, patients are much more likely to trust this information.

Doctor's websites are a great way of reducing medical myths and misconceptions; and educating society at large !

Equally importantly, having a website forces a doctor to be transparent and honest. He cannot tell a lie on his website, as this will get him into serious trouble. This is good for patients - and doctors as well ! It also teaches the doctor to be much more patient-centric as he has to use simple words which his patients can understand when talking to them online !

If I were the Health Minister of India, the first thing I would do would be to make sure every doctor had their own website. This would create a win-win situation, which would help both doctors and patients !
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1 comment:

  1. I think that doctors here in the US don't have websites (at least not useful ones) for several additional reasons:

    - Takes too much time
    - Fear of litigation
    - Fear of criticism


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