Saturday, January 22, 2011
MEDICINE & THE INTERNET
If you like reading about things medical then you already may have found the website KevinMD.com. And if you haven’t found it yet, you really should.
KevinMD is Dr. Kevin Pho. His blog runs a daily collection of writings by those in the medical professions. Of special interest to me is watching the docs and the administrators try to figure out how to bring the best of medicine and the best of electronic charting into a workable relationship that is accurate, quickly available and constantly up to date (something I always wonder about, since as yet my own doc doesn’t always have in my computerized chart what I am asking him about.)
I had to laugh at one blog the good doctor wrote about last week. He starts by giving the illustration of doctors rolling their eyes when patients bring in a handful of printouts gleaned from a Google search. Right off the bat this blog captured me, because I have been known to do just that, although the last time I considered doing it was when I speculated I had Sjogren’s Syndrome and printed out what MayoClinic.org had to say about it. (However, I used my better judgment and did not take it to the appointment with me, instead opting to stick it in my own “pending” file for future reference, just in case…).
Dr. Pho then commented on an article by Zachary Meisel in TIME.com where he describes such an eye-roll coming from a medical intern who mentions a patient had some blood in the toilet that morning and came in armed with internet printouts listing a bunch of diseases and conditions that blood in the toilet might indicate. The intern then offered that she herself thinks the patient might have a hemorrhoid.
I just laughed my head off. That could have been me. Me, the patient.
The point of the blog is that whether doctors like it or not, the internet is here to stay and because so much undocumented junk gets put on the internet for everyone’s eyes, it would serve medicine better if doctors stopped the eye-rolling and give some thought to providing the inquiring patient with sites that “exclusively present current, peer-reviewed and evidence-based health information,” which is Dr. Meisel’s recommendation and has Dr. Pho’s concurrence.
And in fairness, I think probably those people who might fit the term “cyberchondriacs” would be just as well served by putting more of their own printouts in their pending files.
And you can learn more about Dr. Pho here: