Should doctors go online?

How many doctors offering good, well research, solid advice do you find online? I am not sure what the answer to that is, but I do know that there are far more proponents of alternative treatments online than medical doctors.

I suspect the fact that physicians have lost control of the online message doesn’t particularly bother the medical profession, but shouldn’t it bother them when over 60% of patients visit the web first when looking for health information?

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr Pamela Hartzband and Dr Jerome Groopman believe that “Physicians are in the best position to weigh information and advise patients, drawing on their understanding of available evidence as well as their training and experience. If anything, the wealth of information on the Internet will make such expertise and experience more essential.”

Doctors need to recognise and not dismiss the fact that they are no longer the sole source of a patient’s health information. One of those that does recognise this is Dr Kevin Pho, whose blog Kevin MD is a fine example of what can be done.  He believes that doctors “need to serve.. as interpreters of data, and be willing to separate the tangible information from the increasing amount of noise patients find online.”

I couldn’t agree more with Dr Pho and wonder what are your thoughts on this subject too?

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