Friday, January 26, 2007

Helpful or Harmful

In the last post I was discussing how WebMD is a very versitile site with conventional and non-conventional aspects. There can be some problems that have to do with these aspects. WebMD is a site for the doctor as well as the patient. It's a research site to look up medical information to help teach and learn.
With being a medical professional this is very helpful to get to a large sum of information. With all of this being at one website, it takes less time for the doctor to access the information, therefore making it easier to assess and treat patients. It also makes it possible to confer with other physicians in specialized areas. Not only that, but doctors can also print out instruction guides on exercise, diet, etc. for patients to take home with them.
On the other end of the spectrum is where I tend to see more confusion happening. Some patients do not have any kind of medical background, but they can still access the same places on WebMD as doctors. This can cause patients to be lead in the wrong directions. Some people will try to diagnose and treat themselves before they ever see a doctor. With certain things this is fine, but if you get pulled too off course something stressing could happen. This happened with a woman having a slight pain by her belly-button now and then; she got lead astray and called the office thinking she had ovarian cancer. She was very upset and crying, she came in, and it was just gas. That was more stress than she needed. I find in the information age, we can access mass amounts of information, but if we do not have the training or background, it can be very confusing.
Another thing that can be misleading is the advertisements on WebMD, just like on television(click to see example). I understand they pay for the other aspects of the website, but with medications it is a different story. Medications affect every one differently, wiether it be due to your physiology, or because of the other medications you are taking. But ads seem to have a way of convincing people it's only one thay can have, or will work; I admit I've done this myself before. When the doctor tries to say otherwise, some people do not listen or understand this, so the confusion gets worse.
It is hard in this "information age" to not get clouded by all the different data being offered up to us. I love the website because of all the information that is accessible, but at the same time I want to make sure I and everyone else are careful of how we take in and apply the knowledge. Otherwise, it will be one confusing, stressful mess.

1 comment:

RachelKrier said...

It seems like a very informative website but like you were saying it may make people a bit too confident and potentially do the wrong thing. I really like the site though. To me it's all about simplicity as it is very easy to be frustrated about computers and not being able to find what I need. I am a fan of a site that offers much information in one place if it is easy to navigate. I think this site is. It saves people from having to search a million different places to find all of the pieces to the puzzle. If I were in need of medical advice I would check this site as it seems to contain a lot of useful information.