My wife has a couple of doctors. I have a doctor. We each utilize the service of the same dentist. We do our own mouse calls.
In the age of WebMD and Wikipedia, it’s all too easy for people to self diagnose, and attempt to self cure some perceived or actual disease. Got some symptoms? Use Google to see what’s wrong and what to do about it.
It’s not that the internet is going to replace our need to visit the doctor in person. The problem is that the doctor doesn’t have time or inclination (meaning, we can’t afford to pay the doctor to give us extra time) to educate us about what is wrong with us and what treatment we need. Or, even before that– the doctor doesn’t devote sufficient time to even find out what’s wrong with us.
How do we bridge the gap between what the doctor knows but doesn’t have time to educate us about, and what we want and need to know to keep ourselves healthy? The disruptive influence of the internet can help. What you learn about your ailment and cure on the internet can be a threat that many doctors can’t handle.
Smart doctors recognize that some patients have the ability, inclination, and patience to help themselves as patients. I visited a doctor recently who told me to use Google to find out more information about his diagnosis and cure. My family doctor has done the same. He recognized the benefits and the risks. So long as I act like an informed patient and don’t act like a doctor, he’s fine with my use of the new technology.
What are the risks of making these so-called mouse calls? A misdiagnosis and a wrong cure could be a serious one-two punch with disastrous results. So it makes sense to combine the doctor’s perspective with extra research.
The internet is a great repository of medical information. And medical misinformation. As the knight who guarded the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones lamented, “choose wisely.”
Patients who venture online can sink into a murky, muddy minefield of medical misinformation which could create a schism in the traditional doctor-patient relationship.
For what it’s worth, I’ve had good success with online information which helped reduce nagging joint and muscle pains. 10 years of pain medicine did not provide the results obtained from information found online.
Online medical information is a brave new world, so caution is beneficial. If the doctor can’t afford house calls, a few mouse calls might help.