We’re all aware of the phenomenal power of the internet. It has entirely changed the way we see the world and interact with one another. It has reshaped the nature of business, shopping and every conceivable industry sector. One place where this is becoming more and more evident is the medical sector. Healthcare and medicine has been transformed by the power of the internet. From self-diagnoses to doctor interaction to productivity, it has pushed healthcare further. Today we’re investigating whether this has created a positive change or if there’s a damaging side.
When we feel an illness coming on, the first place we now turn is the internet. If something feels, looks, sounds or smells abnormal, we load up WebMD or a symptom checker. We have become a nation of self-diagnosers. There’s a positive and negative side to this. Of course, it is allowing patients to easily determine simple illnesses. They can quickly identify a problem and seek pharmaceutical treatments themselves. However, the dark side is the ‘fear creep’ that occurs. Without the expert advice of a doctor, we can blow problems out of proportion, causing more worry and stress.
One positive change in the medical world is the increase of doctor websites. These have a medical web design that comforts patients and helps them feel secure. It gives patients an online relationship with their doctor and allows for easy communication. For doctors, this is helping them to grow their practices, reach new patients and dispense knowledge. These websites are helping to distribute the knowledge of common illnesses and dispel fears.
We all know that the internet has allowed for increased interaction and communication. This has been especially effective in the healthcare world. Most illnesses and diseases now have online communities. Here patients can discuss and share with one another. When you’re suffering with an illness, it’s important to find support. The internet makes that easier than ever. Patients can now share words of wisdom, encouragement and advice. This has been a powerful transformative tool in the world of mental health. The once taboo subjects of depression and anxiety have received much needed attention as a result.
Within hospitals themselves, the internet has vastly improved productivity and work power. Most doctors now carry iPads with instant access to patient records and information. Procedures can be handled faster and diagnoses made more easily. When it comes to outpatients and home care, this is vital. With all information stored securely online, patients can access their records and renew prescriptions. Doctors can check in with their patients remotely and provide advice and care. Similarly, patients can book further appointments or seek additional treatment.
The internet has opened up a more democratic, more transparent health industry. We can now instantly identify problems or illnesses for ourselves. We can share stories and wisdom from experience. We can book appointments and update prescriptions. Admittedly there is the risk of misdiagnoses and a slight increase in hypochondria. However, these are far outweighed by the phenomenal positive effect of the internet.