Richard Kravitz, M.D. co-wrote a study that appeared online May 16 in the Journal of Health Communication that he hopes will help other physicians become more at ease when dealing with Internet-searching patients.
One of the most important things doctors should know, he said, is that patients aren’t going online because they don’t trust their physician or are skeptical of their diagnosis. They are searching the Internet to become more engaged in their care.
Dr. Kravitz said patients, especially those with rare conditions, can be a good source of new information for physicians. But while patients may be proficient at finding material online, the doctor’s role is to help them sort through it and assess whether it’s credible, he said.
“Doctors should try to relax about this and just engage in conversations with patients about the information they bring in, some of which will be truthful and relevant, and others won’t be,” Dr. Kravitz said. “We can’t do anything else except to have a candid dialogue about it.”
Via Joseph Rugg