How the Internet is Changing the Practice of Medicine
With the explosion of the Internet and the rapid rate that more people are getting "on line" this phenomena has changed our society as a whole. Anyone can put up a website. More information is available to people on the Internet than was ever possible to get from just your local library, bookstore or newspaper. Suddenly, people can get information on a variety of topics with just a few key words and reach into resources with an exponential level of information, multiple libraries, medical libraries, medical magazines.
The Internet is radically changing how we are practicing medicine. It is and will alter the traditional Doctor Patient relationship. The old model is based on a patient coming to the Physician who was to be the keeper of all knowledge. Patients would come to their doctor to diagnose and treat them when they felt something was amiss. Now, with the information available on the Internet, physicians are no longer the keepers of the medical information. Many times patients with a particular disease will be more up to date on that specific illness, having gotten the latest article or information off a e-mail mailing list. At the rate that medical information is exploding, it is impossible for physicians to keep up with the latest on every disease, treatment options, therapy or drugs.
The relationship has shifted to more of a sharing of resources and information. With the years of schooling, scientific training and practice in reading medical articles, a physician should be more adept at deciphering whether or not a resource would be a legitimate one, or if an article or claim made by someone on the internet is factual.
Unfortunately, with the constraints of managed care, physicians are often unable to review the large amounts of information that patients may bring into them, so approach your physician with care about information you have obtained off of the net. Before asking your physician to review the many pages downloaded off the internet, try and sift through as much as you can first on your own.
In the book, Healthnet: Your Essential Resource for the Most up-to-Date Medical Information Online by Jeanne C. Ryer published 1997 by John Wiles & Sons, Inc. they provide some practical tips for helping improve your use of the available Medical internet resources.
Balancing the Good and the Bad
To quote from an recent article in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine: