Start the Patient-Doctor Relationship with Questions about Gathering Health Information
About one third of U.S. adults with online access will look up health information about a specific condition, but only about half will discuss what they've found with a doctor [Pew Internet]. Recent research suggests patients want to share what they learn online but often get a negative reaction from doctors.
I think we can do better. Starting as collaborators could make a big difference in how medical care is delivered as well as received.
What if, during the very first doctor-patient visit, we talked about where patients gather health information and discussed how to find reliable resources? What if we asked our patients to tell us how they best learn and retain medical information? What if we told our own doctors how we learn?
During an initial visit, a symptoms-based review of systems is a standard part of taking a medical history. I'm suggesting we make time to review patients’ health information status as well.
A health information history would allow doctors to:
- assess how patients learn and retain information;
- correct misinformation and ineffective research habits
- provide accurate, reliable resources
- establish a positive, collaborative approach to sharing new information.
Take a look at this presentation for more about the questions I believe doctors should probably be asking, as well as what we should be prepared to provide for our patients.
What do you think?