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More and more people are going online to search for information about their health.
Though it can be a minefield, where unverified sources abound, searching the internet can help people to understand different health problems, and give them access to emotional and social support.
Internet - Patients - Appointments - Issues - Consulting
By using the internet, patients can prepare for appointments, or follow up on issues that were raised in the consulting room but left them with unanswered questions.
But not everyone is so keen on patients using the internet in this way.
Doctors - Heath - Professionals - Doubts - Quality
Some doctors and other heath professionals have doubts about the quality and usefulness of the information available.
There are also suggestions that 'cyberchrondria' may be fueling a surge in unnecessary tests and appointments.
People - Resources - Gaps - Knowledge - Questions
Similarly, though so many people are using online resources to fill in gaps in their knowledge, or to help them ask the right questions, they may not be comfortable bringing it up in the consulting room.
For our latest research project, we wanted to find out just why it can be so difficult to discuss online information with doctors.
Addition - People - Case - Information - Reaction
We found that in addition to people being embarrassed in case they have misunderstood the information, or can't remember it accurately, they also fear a negative reaction from the doctor who may think they are difficult or challenging.
How to make it work
Patient - Information - Doctor - First - Relationship
So how can you as a patient bring up online information with your doctor? First, it sounds obvious but you need a good, open relationship with your doctor.
Tell them you have been looking online, but ask for their feedback on the information, and for any useful sites they know of.
Patients - Doctor - Relationship - Information - Ideas
We found that patients with a good doctor relationship felt able to discuss information and ideas from websites and online forums in a considered and critical manner.
Importantly, it is not about the patient trying...
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