On Doctors, Patients, and the Internet: An Analogy
This a topic that bears further discussion later, but I wanted to share this analogy I came up with after talking to a friend who experienced hostility when asking her doctor about information found online. I posted it to Facebook a while ago, but wanted to put it here where I will be able to find it again, too.
Warning patients away from “the internet” because some sources are bad is like telling patients to avoid all medications because some/most would be inappropriate or dangerous for that patient. Both miss opportunities to educate, collaborate, and improve care.
People – including patients! – use the internet. Period. It’s my opinion that doctors and nurses who immediately scoff at any mention of the internet – rather than appreciating the wide web of information, good, bad, helpful, worthless, dangerous, and in between – are more interested in being gatekeepers and authority figures than in helping patients understand their conditions and get good care.
I feel like there’s a teenagers/sex metaphor in here, too. Blanket prohibitions and authoritarian grandstanding do nothing but put a wall between people and what they need to know to be safe.
I would love to hear your experiences with health care providers and their attitudes toward information in the comments.