How is the wide availability of health information on the web changing the relationships between patients and doctors?

Topics: Medicine, World Wide Web, Physician Pages: 6 (1974 words) Published: October 17, 2014

How is the wide availability of health information on the web changing the relationships between patients and doctors?

How is the wide availability of health information on the web changing the relationships between patients and doctors? The use of the World Wide Web has made major changes in our day-to-day activities. To name a few, we use the web to pay our bills, talk to our friends and relatives, and when we are not feeling well we use it to contact our doctors and nurses for advice. The relationship between doctors and their patients is one of the most important elements in healthcare. The doctor-patient relationship must have respect on both sides. There must be a semblance of trust. Doctors and patients need to agree on the treatment of the illness or disease. How is the wide availability of health information on the web changing the relationships between patients and doctors? The information that can be found on the Internet is extensive, but not all of it is correct. I believe that you must verify the source of the information and make sure it is what you need before accepting it as being correct. The Internet has become a significant resource for anyone looking for healthcare information. In a study completed by Lisa M. Soederberg Miller PhD, the Director of the Adult Development Lab and Robert A. Bell PhD a Professor of Health Communications, both of U.C. Davis it is stated that “Health information seeking has been shown to be related to gains in knowledge, as well as healthy lifestyle behaviors” (Miller & Bell, 2012, p. 526). According to Miller and Bell older adults underutilize the internet for health information due to lack of trust they have of the internet and different attribute’s of the website, such as the size of the font ad other objects that may make it hard to concentrate on the website, this makes “internet searches more demanding on cognitive resources and render health information even more difficult for older adults to understand” (2012, p. 527). Even though some older adults underutilize the Internet for health information middle age and younger adults use it without delay. Using online sources for health information has become a critical asset for both healthcare personnel and patients. In a similar study that explored how the internet plays a role in cancer patients communicating with doctors, completed by Yu-Chan Chiu of the Department of Bio-Industry Communication and Development at National Taiwan University, says “It has become a major health information source for many patients, and they might discuss the information they get from the Internet with their doctors” (2011, p. 1658). (Figure 2). The patient risks their relationship with their doctor if they do not discuss their findings with them. A study completed by Spanish researchers about the advantages and disadvantages of online medical enquiries on the doctor’s point of view shows, “Some 31% of doctors believe that the Internet complicates their relationship with patients and undermines their credibility” (Plataforma, 2009). This study was opinion of 660 doctors who all work for the Spanish National Health System (330 in primary health care and 330 in hospitals). “The results showed, 96% of the doctors surveyed have been questioned by their patients about information they have read on the Internet. Furthermore, almost 3 of every 10 professionals recommend websites to their patients” (Plataforma, 2009). With all the information about healthcare on the Internet a patient can look up their symptoms and make their own diagnosis. Some of these patients use this information to treat their health problems without talking to their doctor. According to an article based on a national study published by Pew Research Centers, Internet and Americas Life Project, and written by Michelle Castillo of CBS News, “38% of the 3,014 adults that were interviewed who said they went online to help find...


References: Castillo, M. 2013, January 15. More than one-third of U.S. adults use Internet to diagnose
medical condition
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Plataforma SINC. (2009, September 3). Internet Complicates Doctor-Patient Relationships,
Spanish Researchers Find
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