CNET : Internet : Guidebook

Patient Power!

By Anita Devasahayam

THE Internet has given rise to an empowered and better-informed citizenry and never more so is this apparent as in a subject as personal and affecting as healthcare.

By all accounts, the proliferation of medical Web sites has enhanced the patient-doctor relationship. The ill and their families are more prepared, and have greater understanding of the issues involved, while the medical community can reach out in ways never before possible.

"Visits are now focussed on the real concerns and specific questions about their condition or symptoms as a result of a pre-visit done in the privacy of their home. When patients know what to ask, the results are often more satisfying to all," says pediatrician Dr Paula Elbirt who operates her namesake Web site

Chief operating officer at Dennis Upah agrees. He says that consumers are taking charge and control of their interactions with physicians. "We¹ve gone from a period of physician talking and the patient listening to a true dialog as a result of a more empowered and educated consumer," he adds.

Upah points out that this also created better doctors because an enlightened patient is one that brings information to the physicians. "Good physicians are never threatened by that. In fact, they undoubtedly look up the information themselves immediately after the patient leaves the office," he said.

But how do you tell the bonafide from the online quacks? Internet users often ignore warnings on such sites that information given should be validated by a physician.

Is There a Quack in The Mouse?  next

Anita Devasahayam spent last decade as a technology journalist in the city and plans to live the next one far from the madding crowd and closer to home and family. When not pottering about the house, she is planting seeds in people's minds about the Internet and journalism as a career.

• Patient Power!

Is There a Quack in The Mouse?

Doctor Dotcoms

First Do No Harm Online





Patient Power!
Is There a Quack in The Mouse?
Doctor Dotcoms
First Do No Harm Online

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