Health-related matters also under Web 2.0 influence

September 7, 2009

Once upon a time… the Doctor was some kind of magician that could save lives. He/she was the expert, the savior. The patient trusted him/her blindly…
However, that time is past. The influence of Web 2.0 is also visible in Healthcare. As a consequence, a patient nowadays makes use of free services such as ‘doctor google’, wikis, blogs, twitter, or ‘patientslikeme’, before he/she visits the GP. No longer is the patient forced to blindly trust his doctor’s judgement.
Is this positive or negative?
As a complementary service, it can be seen as a good thing: the patient gets more information, shares experiences, etc. However, this can lead to dangerous situations of wrong diagnosis (made by the patient self) and self-medication. It is important not to forget that doctors receive special training for years and enrich their health knowledge with everyday experience, so, ‘probably’ they know better than non-doctors what is wrong with the patient. However, there are many cases of wrong diagnosis by doctors, so the tools offered by Web 2.0 can give the patient an answer when things don’t go the expected way, and can trigger him/her to look for a second expert opinion, for example.
With Web 2.0, the role of a doctor has changed to one of facilitator of health, rather than the unquestionable saviour.

E-health insider has come up with a report ‘Web 2.0 in the Health Sector: Industry Review with a UK perspective’

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