The pace of office medical care today is frantic. Studies show that, on average, a patient talks for less than 30 seconds before the doctor interrupts him. Doctors don’t usually have the time to tell you everything you should know about your illness.
Realize that doctors have busy schedules and aren’t always up on the latest, best, and nationally-recommended guidelines on everything medical. (Read: you might know more than the doctor does if you read up on your illness.)
“Today, no one clinician can retain all the information necessary for sound, evidence-based practice. No unaided human being can read, recall, and act effectively on the volume of clinically relevant scientific literature.”a
“Physicians have always had a professional obligation to base their decisions on the best available information … The disappointing reality, however, is that physicians still don’t regularly search the medical literature themselves … Physicians don’t, and never will, have that kind of time to look for the answers to most of their clinical questions themselves.”b
If you have a chronic illness, like diabetes, heart disease, asthma or high blood pressure, do Internet research on reputable Internet sites about your disease. See what the recommended treatments and guidelines are. When you’re diagnosed with an acute illness, look it up on the Internet, and see if the diagnosis fits, and what steps are recommended for someone with your condition.
Don’t be afraid to use this information! Studies have shown that today’s average consumer is very savvy about what Internet sites to believe in, and what Internet sites are bogus or just “anyone’s” opinion. You can figure out that www.MayoClinic.org is reputable, and that www.IAmTheUltimateHealthExpert.com may or may not be.
No other group of patients in history has had this tremendous opportunity to level the playing field and give the patient such a broad, egalitarian chance to access medical information and be an enormously helpful participant in the increasing complex world of healthcare. And it’s not just that it gives you this opportunity—it’s also that you must use this opportunity to get yourself the best and safest healthcare. Re-read the above quotes—your doctor just can’t keep up with all the latest information.
See more information about how you can use the Internet to your advantage at http://e-patients.net.