These days technology makes everything seem more convenient. I can’t even remember how I managed in the days before Google. How on earth would I know the perfect recipe for pumpkin pie, when the bank closed on Friday or be able to compare prices on hotels without the internet? And with my smartphone and tablet always within reach, I constantly am checking information on-the-go, no matter where I am! But, in the medical profession, technology has also brought some negative burdens for physicians. The old days were simpler and didn’t have nearly as many conflicts between patients and docs as we do now that we have a whole information highway in our pockets.
Ways the modern age is negatively affecting physician’s practice:
- Hypochondriacs are even worse– If I believed everything that WebMD told me I had due to my array of symptoms, I would miraculously be a female with prostate cancer probably. Practices are being flooded with paranoid patients believing the worst without even running tests.
- WebMD is taking the place of real doctor visits- On the other hand, with Google engines fired up, severe illnesses can possibly go untreated. Many feel that they are capable of diagnosing their own ailments online and may not receive the proper care they really need. Unless these people are visiting physicians and getting tests done, they may be risking ignoring extremely serious health problems.
- Pharmaceutical companies are being greedy- Its confusing for a lot of people who think they are reading health information from a valuable resource when in all honesty, many “medical journals” are riddled with bias and funded by the big drug companies. Mental disorders are being diagnosed in the U.S. more than ever and this is most likely because of the best interests of this huge corporations. Pharmaceutical representatives as well as software service providers and medical supply salesman are constantly bugging doctors with their personal interests. This is doing a disservice for our entire health system by overly diagnosing and medicating people who do not need it.
- People are negatively speaking about physicians online- Several websites are out there ( such as Health Grades) that compare physicians and their practice. People are shopping around for a doctor based off comments from perfect strangers online. Who knows the accuracy of that? A way more accurate way to find the best doctor would be to ask your family and friends like in the days before these sites existed. Trusting strangers online is really negatively affecting the careers for many healthcare professionals. “Screening” for every kind of profession is just something we’ll have to get used to.
- Patients online research causes conflict- Concerned patients commonly are using the web to research treatments for whatever ailments their doctor is busy trying to help. But, these patients sometimes feel that they know more than the professional and it can cause some disagreements. The truth is, many of these people who are self-taught about their medical troubles and argue the method of treatment do not fully understand the reasons why the doctor is conducting their particular way. Sometimes this causes patients to decide they don’t need a follow up appointment or deciding not to follow the prescribed treatments they need to get better.
When it comes to health care and treatment–there’s no substitute for real physician visits. Without proper identification and diagnosis, people are relying on false information they find in search engines.