When we talk about disease, we often look for its signs and symptoms. In searching for answers on the internet for our aches and pains, we simply type keywords on search engines, and hopefully, the answer to our query comes out in a published article or even an instructional video. This saves us from a trip to a physician and its associated expense – not to mention long hours of waiting outside a doctor’s clinic.
Today’s technology puts information at our fingertips. An average person can now find out what a physician knows just by doing a little internet research. This was unfathomable a few years ago – the only source of credible medical knowledge back then were printed journals, textbooks, or the physicians themselves. We had no choice but to proceed to a hospital or clinic when we felt pain or discomfort to get instant answers. Searching for the answer yourself was too tedious and time-consuming.
While the Internet has changed the way patients educate themselves, it has also led to complexity and uncertainty. The number of self-medication errors has increased the past few years. This particularly holds true for those illnesses that may have very subtle manifestations. Diabetes and Hypertension are being erroneously treated by those who simply look to the internet for the “proper” drug to take. An ordinary cough may be mistaken for an allergic symptom, when in reality it could already be due to an infection. And there are so many food supplements and alternative drugs claiming cures for various ailments without being backed up by evidence.
As a physician, my goal is to provide you with medical information through the internet that is unbiased and based on the best available research results. Through educational articles or links on this blog, it is my hope that a licensed physician’s point of view would increase your trust and confidence in the Internet as a source of medical information. As Robert Lynd said, knowledge is power only if you know what facts not to bother with.