Interesting blog post by KevinMD, exhorting health providers to become as Internet savvy as their patients, lest and I quote:
the medical profession risks losing further influence of the online message, as more patients will be persuaded by charlatans, who now rule the web’s health information.
One primary care doctor I visit says “don’t believe what you read out there”…
Firstly, I think that KevinMD’s blog post has a misleading title “….engage in social media”. Engaging in social media can rapidly become offering free advise over the web about medical conditions. I think a better title would be “…becoming web savvy.”
Secondly, I think that physicians have several duties with respect to social media:
- Become informed on what medical information the web offers the patient, so that they can understand what information patients are reading.
- Direct patients to official websites such as medline , or well respected commercial websites such as webmd rather than the “charlatan” websites that KevinMD suggests.
- Understand how to mediate “self diagnosis” that a patient performs on themselves from the Internet and what symptoms the patient presents at the time of the doctor visit.
Patients are encumbered to:
- Don’t believe all you read online.
- Symptoms that one patient encountered and published online, may not apply to you.