“I know you don’t like it when patients use the Internet”
I hear this every day from parents who sheepishly admit that they’ve been trying to learn something about their child’s condition. It’s unfortunate really because patients have been conditioned to believe that they shouldn’t be educating themselves. And when they do they are berated as not acting in their own best interest or the interest of their child. Talk about a conflict.
But from the provider perspective it’s easy to view the infosphere with cynicism. Much of what patients read comes from unreliable sources.
So what’s a provider to do? Perhaps doctors could ‘prescribe’ web resources for their patients much like they prescribe medication. Required, vetted reading for a patient’s condition should be part of the treatment plan.
This can be done with a Delicious or Twine page. Bookmarked sites can be annotated with a doctor’s own personal commentary and tagged for easy retrieval. Patients can visit your Delicious page, pull links tagged for ‘remicade’, for example, and read ten or so of the best pieces of patient-friendly, accurate information on anti-TNF.
While patients will always wander to check out what they want, they need a stake post for Internet exploration. And then doctors couldn’t blame them for accessing bad information.