Monday, September 12, 2011

The power of the written word - information therapy, patients and doctors

While it's true that lots of patients will search for information about their medical problem on the internet, most will still want their doctor to make the final decision . While I agree that it's always a good idea to get corroboration from an expert, and life’s easy when both your doctor’s opinion and the research you have unearthed agree, when they differ, please do not automatically assume that your doctor is always right !

We sometimes naively believe that doctors are experts at everything - or at least that the doctor whom we have chosen to go to is extremely well informed and knowledgeable. This is not true, and sometimes doctors can give bad or wrong advice , because they are outdated and don't have access to current information. Also, sometimes doctors have a vested interest in advising procedures which are likely to result in financial gain for themselves.

Written advice from an objective trusted resource such as Healthwise can actually be far more reliable than what a doctor tells you within the four walls of his clinic , because it does not have any bias. Because it's written down and in the public domain, the author is likely to be much more careful about the advice he provides.

It's important to find a balanced approach. You do need a doctor to help you make sense of the information you find – someone who can explain how it applies to your personal problem. Just like a second opinion from a doctor can be very valuable, a second opinion from a reliable written source can help you make sure you're on the right path. it's important to trust – but it's equally important to verify !

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