Guest Post by Ben Haber … from the patient perspective
When people start feeling sick, scheduling a doctor’s appointment isn’t necessarily everyone’s first move. Many people have turned to social networks – especially Facebook – to find an explanation for their symptoms.
All this takes is a quick status update, “I have the chills and feel nauseous, but no fever” or “I have a sharp pain in my knee when I stand up and walk around, but its fine when I sit down,” to get a quick diagnosis from friends. While responses may not be completely accurate, they will come from trusted sources that may have experienced similar symptoms, and can offer advice or suggestions. Some people may try to diagnosis the illness, other will make suggestions, and some people will simply take pity – but in either case its healthcare social media style.
So what does this mean for doctors? When patients come to their office with specific problems (illness or injury), they likely already have some ideas of what their problem could be. Doctors must assume that patients have already done their research online through social networks (and potentially other medical sites like WebMD and Wikipedia to educate themselves before entering the doctor’s office. They will no longer simply accept a medical diagnosis from a doctor – they will ask questions and potentially debate if they are being correctly diagnosed and the best treatment options.
While social media diagnosis may result in more work for doctors, it also creates a society that is more in tune with and interested in medicine, as people educate themselves and other more about the conditions that they experience. This is a very good thing for society, as it can result in healthier people that take more interest in the health and well being of themselves and their friends.
This is a guest post contributed by Ben Haber, a Senior Account Executive at Racepoint Group.
Disclaimer: this information is for your education and should not be considered medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Some links on this page may be affiliate links. Read the full disclaimer.