[ Wednesday, January 27, 2010 ]


More on Doctors, email, and the Internet: Also, consider this: most patients use the internet to get medical information, and if they leave the doctor's office unclear about the information they've received, they'll probably look it up online. Should the doctor be available by email to help? Maybe. At the very least, the doctor should be aware of what's on the internet and what their patients might be thinking.

And since a lot of what patients might become exposed to over the internet is social media related, physicians and hospitals should continue to consider their social media stance, and whether/how to use these tools.

As for what patients might be seeing online, physicians should definitely be aware that it might impact the patient input. Jim Pyles contributed the following story to the HIT listserv:

Patient presents with a large red welt on upper arm and says he has looked
it up on the internet and that it appears to be a 'spider bite.' Medical
student [doing patient intake] takes a history and listens carefully to the
patient. Primary care physician [supervising the student] comes in and
asks the medical student to give her diagnosis. She says 'spider
bite.' The primary care physician says upon merely viewing the welt,
'MRSA.' Correct diagnosis -- severe and progressive MRSA infection.

Lesson for medical student: listen to the patient's symptoms, trust what
you see and ignore the patient's self-diagnosis based on internet
information. Conclusion -- doctors who rely on patient's self-diagnosis
based on internet information do so at their peril.

Jeff [11:52 AM]

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