Topic: E-Patients

June 10th, 2010

“According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 61 percent of American adults looked online for health information in 2009, up from 46 percent in 2000” ( ). This has lead to a growing trend of participatory medicine, where patients are becoming more and more influential in the decisions made regarding their healthcare.

Some areas in which our current system fails include: long delays in diagnosis, unnecessary treatments, lack of research funding, sub-optimal care and, and a general lack of guidelines. Having an open source of medical information on the internet allows e-patients and their caregivers to help overcome these obstacles. Often, patients vigorously research their symptoms before even reaching the exam room ( ).

E-patients are using resources such as blogs, forums, online healthcare providers, and others. WebMD has received a lot of attention as an online healthcare provider, because it provides “award-winning expertise in medicine, journalism, health communication and content creation” ( ).

Participatory medicine  has the potential to change the healthcare system as we know it. At the moment, doctors seem supportive of this trend, acknowledging that it benefits patients in ways they cannot. However, doctors are offered little incentive to join in because they are pushed by insurers to help patients in the hospital rather than on the internet. For our current healthcare system to become more e-patient friendly, changes may have to start with insurers. If they push doctors to expand their definition of patient care to include participatory medicine, then we might see a revolution in the healthcare system ( ).

3 Responses to “Topic: E-Patients”

  1. slang on June 10, 2010 6:00 pm

    Hi Lauren,
    I really enjoyed your presentation today on “E- Patients”. It amazes me how high the percent of American adults look online for health information. I have never used WebMD before but I definitely will try it next time I feel like I’m getting sick. I especially liked the “symptom’s tool” you showed us.
    Good Job!

  2. lchacko on June 10, 2010 10:15 pm

    Thanks! And yea, the symptom checker is pretty cool

  3. jajamoo on June 13, 2010 6:50 pm

    This was an excellent presentation, Lauren! The research was spot-on, the sources were reliable, and the post on your blog very easy to read. I find any topic about health care fascinating so this mix of using the internet to solve various and sundry health issues was a great, as I gobbled it right up! Great job, keep up the good work!


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