Jason Berek-Lewis Founder, Healthy Startups
With research showing that patients, or healthy cyborgs (see http://healthystartups.com/founders-blog/2011/11/10/the-rise-of-healthy-cyborgs.html), are going online seeking information to spark discussions with their trusted health professionals, and some research showing that 4/5 people search online for health information, it's time for doctors to fight back...
The trap for healthy cyborgs
The 0s and 1s revolution means that we now have access to more information than at any time in our history. But, how much of the health information online is trustworthy? A 2010 study conducted in the United Kingdom found that only 39 percent of sampled health websites provided accurate information (see http://www.bupa.com.au/staticfiles/Bupa/HealthAndWellness/MediaFiles/PDF/LSE_Report_Online_Health.pdf). The large volume of dubious online health information provides a unique opportunity for medcial professionals to create a new role for themselves in the information economy.
Doctors fight back!
The web now puts nearly infinite amount of information at the finger tips of our parents/patients. This can be good and bad. However, pediatrician(s) are specialist(s) that are educated in a very specific discipline thus making them highly trusted sources of information. This puts them in an excellent position to curate, manage, filter and organize the information that is on the web.
The truth is, there is a lot of bad information out there regarding pediatric health issues. And as long as that information remains unchecked, parents will assimilate it and credit it as factual. But by embracing the web as pediatric curators, pediatricians have the potential to procure the best healthcare related information on the web and share it with their network.
Brandon Betancourt writing on http://www.kevinmd.com
Our trust in doctors and medical professionals remains strong (see http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/2818/Doctors-are-most-trusted-profession-politicians-least-trusted.aspx). Doctors have an opportunity to use this position of trust to become the new curators of health information.
Doctors who understand curation, who know how to use social bookmarking tools like Pinterest, who know where to find the best and most relevant information will be the ones who add real value to care of their patients - whether they are healthy cyborgs or not...
Do you think patients want their doctors to act as search engines? Are doctors ready to fill this role? Share your thoughts in the comments below.