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Colette's picture

                The internet

                The internet can be a great resource; however, it is most definitely not a solution to all problems. On the other hand in matters of health professionals such as doctors, nurses, etc. might not have all the answers either. People could use both as a check and balance system. It is risky to trust everything online because of the uncertainty of the array of advice given (professional and non-professional). For minor colds, the web is a useful resource and there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between googling for information and going to a pharmacy store and reading the back of boxes for symptoms a person may have. With our expensive healthcare system, unfortunately people have to really save for terrible situations and I think designated internet sites could be very helpful. For more serious problems, I would however most definitely advocate seeking professional help.

            This summer I shadowed a doctor and one of her patients had done research on the symptoms he was experiencing. I think the web was slightly detrimental in this situation because it was difficult to convince him to stay for observation. He was right for trying to figure out what was wrong with himself. Much of the day may seem tedious to doctors, however, so  I think an  informed patient informed patient challenges doctors to stay on top of their game. Therefore, I would have to disagree with a point that someone made about “the internet taking away from doctors’ precious time during evaluations and getting in the way of their work.” I think that people need to be advocates for themselves. It is a doctor’s job to help his/her patient, and that includes answering questions to help clarify things.

            Another point that I was perplexed about was the comparison between pubmed and webMD. I am lost as to how one could even compare these sites when trying to diagnosis a person. WebMD I believe was created for the purpose for self-diagnosis however pubmed was created as a database for research, two entirely different types of medical applications. Yes, they are related, but I highly doubt any doctor would recommend pubmed for a diagnosis. Maybe once a person has an idea about their sickness or about a drug they are on, but to understand their ailments, a doctor probably would give them a handout or refer them to a regulated site that would better explain.

            When you don’t know what is going on and you need information, you look for a reliable source. The more critical the need for the information, the more important it is that the information is reliable. The medical professional is regulated—standards are set, and adherence is checked and enforced. There is a performance threshold.

If the information is not so critical, patients are allowed to do it themselves. Fortunately for everyone a lot things get better on their own. If you make a mistake you just suffer a little more a little longer




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