Have you ever gone to an internet search engine website like Google to look up information on health? A survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 61 percent of adults say they look online for health information. There’s a new term for this: e-patients.
E- patients take internet searches a step further. Not only do they occasionally conduct internet searches about health; but they become involved in online groups & organizations dedicated to a particular aspect of their health.
The upside? We can find people out there who know what we are going through. We can become involved in discussions with other patients like ourselves who have experienced the same side effects, the same pain, & most importantly, some of the same emotional aspects of dealing with an illness.
The downside? The internet makes everything accessible instantaneously. This may be feeding our fast paced society where our questions are never answered fast enough, especially in relation to our health. The internet is creating a shift in the health world, & this fast pace may be hard for hospitals & doctors to catch up with.
As far as generic information & moral support, the internet is a great tool. However, there is still a need to rely on traditional healthcare & to have a team of professionals around you. Not all patients are the same, & not all of our health related questions can be answered on Google.
Naomi Kingery, twenty year old brittle diabetic & author of The Sugar Free Series available at www.livetolovediabetes.com.