Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why are doctors scared of internet positive patients ?

The Mumbai Mirror had an article, which talks about a survey, conducted across 27 cities including Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad by Ipsos Healthcare and Ruder Finn, which revealed that " doctors have been struggling to deal with patients who use the internet to find out what ails them.

Making matters worse are hundreds of thousands of online forums where people discuss their ailments and symptoms, which often result in patients indulging in self-medication, and also end up arguing with doctors upon being told that their ailment is not even close to the worse diseases they had imagined, said majority of the 650 doctors who participated in the survey.

The doctors, including specialists and super specialists, termed people's increasing dependence on the internet to find medical cures and search for symptoms as a "major strain on the doctor-patient relationship".

This is a completely archaic attitude in  my opinion.

My take is completely different ! Most good doctors are very happy to talk to internet positive patients , because they are well-informed and have realistic expectations . Patients who have done their homework actually have a better doctor-patient relationship, because the doctor has to treat them an intelligent adults, who have an opinion about their own health and would like to decide their own treatment options, in partnership with their doctor !

We believe that patients are the largest untapped healthcare resource – and that Information Therapy – the right information at the right time for the right person – can be powerful medicine !

Information Therapy helps patients get better medical care by
Promoting SelfCare , and helping them to do as much for themselves as they can
Helping them with Evidence-Based Guidelines , so that they can ask for the right medical treatment that they need – no more and no less
Helping them with Veto Power, so they can say No to medical care they don’t need, thus preventing overtesting and unnecessary surgery .

How can we use technology to empower patients with Information Therapy , so that they can become expert and engaged patients ? This is a challenge and an opportunity for doctors. Doctors who learn to put patients first will thrive as healthcare evolves and becomes more patient-centric !

Rather than force patients to get information from unreliable websites, doctors need to learn to put up their own websites, where they can empower their patients with reliable information. Websites are a great way of educating patients, and doctors who do so will earn their patient's trust !

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