5 reasons why I choose “Google search” before doctor
Firstly, Google search is not doctor. But it’s importance as that of a doctor is based on the empowerment of patients through information. The headline may sound a little over the top, but it’s just my way of reinforcing, for lack of better words, the importance of internet and the power of information gained from it. Having said that the role of a doctor is irreplaceable. Years of experience and actual skill cannot be replaced by the knowledge alone.
So the reasons why I would look up to the internet whenever I get a health related doubt or complaint are:
What exactly could be happening to me? Is it possible to get the urgency of the issue? Am I missing out other signs? Should I be ignoring it? If at all, I am seeking medical help, how should I go about it. It’s always better for one to be aware of the path one is treading and informed, unless if it is for the mystery or adventure, which at least to me do not go well with heath issues.
2. Participate in my healthcare
Taking charge of my health. It’s not about being a control freak but being self responsible and proactive about my health. Making sure I make the right moves and decisions to stay healthy, avail care and choose right options. I may take help or pay to get my options, but I will like to be the one to make the final choice as per my beliefs, economic constraints, effectiveness and comfort. There will be thousands of example of such thinking in play in many cases right from changing doctors and hospitals to highly specific and detail home care for recovering patients.
3. Effective consultation
For me effective consultation means efficiently coming to concrete actionable measures that addresses the health issue. And a lot about it stems from taking charge of my health and being proactive. One key step is equipping ourselves with the right questions. Besides gaining a deeper understanding of the issue, the questions may help the doctor to avoid misdiagnosis. Another example, many times I have gone to doctors with new reports of basic diagnostic tests, which often give the doctor a better insight of the issue leading to quicker commencement of corrective measures. It also cuts short multiple trips to the clinics. When and what to do proactively is what a little research on internet can tell me.
4. Joining the dots
Often doctors don’t tell us things in detail of a situation in hand. Regardless of the why, many would like to get a deeper sense of what’s happening. And many a times, it’s just too difficult to understand what is going either due to the subject being complex or due to multiple versions or constantly changing observations. Chasing doctors is often not an option in such cases when you want to get to the bottom and get a grip of the situation. Internet has proven and is still proving to be really helpful.
5. Better sense of options
Often we are required to choose a line of treatment from many options once a diagnosis is confirmed. Sometimes such options are not even given and we are asked to arrange for required money etc. Not that we should eye doctors with lens of suspicion, but I think it is good practice to evaluate options from our position and choose one that suits our constraints and wish. We go to doctors or hospitals with great faith, but the same faith can also make us overlook the optimal options.
The obvious question is how equipped are we to decide for ourselves. Do we have the enough sense or know how? What about the risk of misinformation and worse, the unreasonable anxiety and worry of such misinformation? What about excessive patient interference in otherwise normal work of a qualified doctor?
My answer will be just because one is not able to use the tool correctly, the tool cannot be term useless or harmful. Many information are meant only for qualified doctors. But there are also many good and credible resources on the internet on almost every topic of healthcare which are meant for general public awareness.
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