Sep 13, 2009

internet is killing doctors?

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Someone in UK actually came out with a list of 50 things that are being killed by the internet, and down on the list on number 28 is...
28) Respect for doctors and other professionals
The proliferation of health websites has undermined the status of GPs, whose diagnoses are now challenged by patients armed with printouts
I guessed it would be a rare occurence, at the very least, at the part of the world where I am serving, to be seeing an uncle or makcik taking a stacks of internet printed information and challenging our diagnosis or management.

The changing medical world of today has actually slowly evolved, rejecting the paternalistic type of medical practice. But it is still quite alive in Malaysia. If you are wondering what is paternalistic medicine, it is the kind of medicine where you are the doctor, you are always right, and what you say is the best, and therefore the patients should follow every damn single thing that you say, without actually given a glimpse of other options, not to mention the pros and cons of each options.
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Somehow this way of medicine kind of made our life much much much much, and yes, much more easy.

But then again, when the medical professionals are being put to bed, suffering from serious illnesses, then they started to question and insist that all the variable multiple options be served up to them like the royale banquet buffet. At times, our over-intelligent (or believed to be over-intelligent) minds may even be ccoking up some options which is purely imaginary or non-existence, at least at the time of treatment.

At this moment, a simple phrase would sum it all - double standard.

Nevertheless, it wouldn't be double standard if at the end of the day, the only thing running in the mind of the terrified mentally weak patient would be "I don't care a damn about the long list of choices, you're the bloody MD, please give me the best choice."

I wouldn't really say that the internet had undermined the credibility of medical practitioners, it simply pushes us all forward, pushing paternalistic medicine into the backyard.

From the solid evidences, the RCT randomised controlled trials, opinions of multiple boards of super Consultants, one may choose the BEST treatment for the patients, translating the BEST prognosis for survival, then again, it may not turn out to be the patient's favourite choice or it may ironically be jeopardizing the patient's quality of life.

Personally, it would be really nice to have someone strolled in and look me in the eyes. Then, tell me that I am wrong.

At times, being wrong, ain't the bad thing.
Worse would be being wrong and being too late.

Worst would be being wrong, but insist on being wrong.
It probably equate to digging our own grave.

I remember what my lecturers used to err.... 'lecture' about. Besides the core knowledge, he/she will be going around telling us to read up more, go internet more, search latest information as internet is readily available to the patients, and we will lose respect if we look 'stupid' when such highly educated, internet savvy patient comes around.

Maybe one will appear slightly inadequate, but definitely not 'stupid'. The learning process is a lifelong experience.

As long as one willing to learn, from one another, and even from the patient, at the end of the day, we will not lose our respect or recognition as the healer.

Proliferation of medical knowledge with Internet is always a boon for the practitioners and the public. At which channel this knowledge will reach the practitioners, maybe from the MD's own self-study, maybe from discussion in Facebook, or simply from the rude knowledgeable internet-savvy patient, the public should know that no one knows everything all the time.

If that someone knows everything all the time, he/she is probably God or a bloody good liar.

Internet is more of an assistant, definitely not a killer.

P.S. Internet also help to relieve some stress. Just click on this AMUSING RED DOT.

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