The doctor as the second opinion panelPresentation Transcript
The Doctor as the Second Opinion and the Internet as the First By: Lisa Neal Gualtieri Health Communication Program Tufts University School of Medicine
Introduction The introduction of the Internet to many different domains has dramatically changed how people get the information and services they need. Finance and Travel What about Healthcare?
Healthcare, and the Internet Initial use – online support groups Expansion – used to learn about a disease, to determine whether professional medical care is needed, to diagnose, to learn what treatment options exist, and for peer support View slide
Poor Health-Literacy Skills Health literacy Problems Searching Online Results – Patients cannot understand or act on medical information whether it be received online, or by doctor visit View slide
Problems, Made Worse Poor health literacy compounded and made worse There is reliable health information online, but…
Reliable Information Some people start looking for health information at well-known and established sites More then half of health-information seekers reported that their most recent online health-info session affected how they care for themselves or someone else Decisions without the awareness of or feedback from professionals
Internet as the First Opinion Internet – convenient, easy to use, reflexive use to diagnose a problem, look up symptoms, and determine what to do Professional medical care becomes the second opinion In some cases, the second opinion, is not even taken into consideration, and many people attempt to solve their health problems on their own In other cases, the first opinion from the internet leads to seeking the second opinion.
Communication Frequently neither the patient tells the doctor about their internet provided first opinion, nor does the doctor inquire about it, for a multitude of reasons
Consequences Strong Doctor-patient relationship is based on trust, not sharing crucial information about previous research, and concerns, can erode this trust, without the doctor even being aware of it Third opinion following doctor’s visit – confused, immediately go to Internet, again.
True Stories Whooping Cough – Mary Ann P. Bat Bite – Diana C. Uterine Cancer – Julie Z.
What Can Patients Do To Use the Internet More Effectively? Strive to become empowered healthcare consumers Guidance by their healthcare providers about how to integrate their internet research with their visits
What Can Doctors Do? Doctor’s need to acknowledge their patients concerns They can give recommendations Collect information about internet use through surveys and such
What Can HCI Professionals Do? Collaborate with the medical community to develop a gold standard for consumer health web site design Ultimately, anyone using a health website is trying to feel better or stay well, the design should address that
Conclusions The medical community today fails to acknowledge the extent at which patients do health-related online research. More information is needed about the reasons patients rely heavily on the Internet. Why do they use it for their first opinion? Why do they not disclose to physicians any fears or concerns regarding their online diagnoses? Patients benefit if they are more knowledgeable and have better relationships with their doctors. Doctors benefit if their patients are more knowledgeable and less confrontational or fearful. With 80% or more of American’s of all ages, to say nothing of Internet users in other countries, using the Internet for health, improving healthcare should be a collaborative priority of the medical and human computer interaction communities!