A recent study was done to find out if symptom checkers (web md) or the physician were more accurate in the diagnosis of symptoms. The physician was found to be more accurate 72 percent of the time compared to 34 percent
No this is not a joke. It was an actual study that was conducted by Reuters Health.
It’s great to be an informed patient. It’s good to know about the disease process and treatments. Studies show that patients who are informed are more likely to get treatment and stay with treatment.
There’s a catch though. Being informed the right way. So many times doctors are faced with the phrase “ I looked up on the internet and it said …..”
A few important things to keep in mind…..
-It’s crucial to know where the “facts” are coming from.
Are the facts backed by scientific data? It is important to know the extent of the data… how many people were involved.. what was tested.. was the data skewed in any way.. were the people tested reflective of genuine population….
-Looking at blogs and patient “accounts” and using the information as fact…. be careful…. Everyone can come up with stories about medication reactions and how certain medications work or don’t work.. everyone’s genetic makeup is different… different medications react differently to every individual…. And not everything you read is fact…
-There is no solid treatment template fit all…. Otherwise, every disease will be cured….There is an art and a method into treatment that’s why doctors are experts
- Where are the facts and opinions coming from? Experience matters…That’s why doctors go to medical school for four years, do residency/ fellowship for 4-6 years and continue to get the required education throughout their career…
Internet blogs and website are just that … they can’t look at the nuances and varying symptoms….
Definitely be an active and participating patient.. ask questions and make suggestions that may be valid… but then be open with your doctor to discuss and figure out the best treatment path for your disease and successful treatment. There needs to be trust between the doctor and the patient. And there needs to be faith in the MD degree…..