How educating yourself helps your doctor

This is the information age, and information abounds. The entire lexicon of human knowledge is available at our fingertips, any time of day, from just about anywhere we happen to be. This obviously has its benefits–people can make themselves infinitely more health-conscious, make more informed decisions, and be more in tune with their bodies and their options than ever before.

On the flip side, the entire lexicon of human nonsense occupies exactly the same space, and one can get bad information just as quickly as one gets good information. This may, at a glance, seem every bit as destructive as good information is helpful. It’s not uncommon for patients to attempt to diagnose themselves, and even determine their proper treatment, before so much as consulting a doctor. Many in health care see this as an affront to their expertise, and would prefer patients defer entirely to the professionals for all things health related.

But we don’t see it quite like that. We’re not that touchy. But it’s not just that. See, we have some pretty great technology, and are able to pinpoint conditions when we’re looking in the right place. But there’s no magical, clairvoyant scanning device we can plug you into and know everything that’s wrong with you. Even in the twenty-first century, good doctors rely on you to tell us your symptoms clearly and accurately. And we find that inquisitive, proactive patients who take the time to research and learn are better able to relate their issues to us. Sometimes a patient doesn’t even realize that a specific issue is a symptom related to a disease until they’re reading about it online. The dots suddenly connect, and we’re one giant step closer to treating the problem. And even if a patient comes in with a huge stack of bad information they’ve completely internalized, and we can tell at a glance that they’re not even close, a proactive patient searching for healing is teachable. And being willing and open-minded are two of the greatest attributes of someone looking to get better.

So please don’t hesitate to consult the Internet before you consult us. But we always as our patients to trust our professional opinion AT LEAST as much as they trust something they read online!