What do you do when your doctor tells you not to Google?

I’m putting together my regular monthly article for the Patient Empowerment Foundation, and this month I’m asking the question – what do you do when your doctor tells you not to Google? 

This question was inspired by a recent Twitter conversation.

It led to a further conversation with Caroline and we would love to explore this topic some more by gathering your thoughts and insights.

It’s something I’ve been speaking and writing about for years – the benefits of digital networks of peer to peer knowledge and support – what Susannah Fox calls our “superpower”.

This is particularly true In the case of rare diseases, where doctors simply don’t have the answers to patients’ questions due to low patient numbers and, consequently, insufficient research into the disease, it is the patients themselves who are banding together to find the answers they need.

And yet we come up time and again against the blanket phrase “don’t google it” when it comes to trying to learn more about our health conditions. I know this is a topic that has been much discussed. We know the benefits but how do we start to change this persistent narrative in healthcare?

Over to you

  • Have you ever been told not to google your cancer diagnosis or other health condition?
  • How did you respond?
  • Conversely, have you had a positive experience where your doctor suggested how you could use the internet to learn more about your diagnosis?
  • Have you come across any best practice examples of how to use the internet as a tool to help you manage your health?

Are you a healthcare practitioner reading this? If so. what are your thoughts on this topic?

What can we do collectively to address this disconnect between the fact that patients WILL search online for health information and the reality that by and large patients are discouraged from doing so.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please share your comments below.

You might also like to read What’s the Influence of Patients’ Internet Health Information-Seeking Behaviour on the Patient-Physician Relationship?