Patient as Googler

November 20, 2007

Matthew Holt points out an article from Time Magazine titled, “ When the Patient is a Googler.” The example given is of a woman who was doctor shopping and not getting the answers she wanted. “Susan had chosen me because she had researched my education, read a paper I had written, determined my university affiliation and knew where I lived.” And this physician thought she knew too much. Also, this physician prefers nurses and engineers as patients and begins to sound sexist in not wanting to deal with an emotional approach to illness. Although this patient certainly pushed the limits.

Many patients are “Googlers” and research their physicians more or less thoroughly. Researching important aspects of one’s own health care and knowing who your surgeon is certainly affects what your surgeon does. Is it overdone by some patients? Definitely. Does it empower others – most certainly.

Perhaps when we get to the semantic health care web, the results will be more even handed.

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