Sunday, October 28, 2012

Patients "Google" and Get More Out of Visits

Here is an interesting news piece about a study of patients "googling' to get information about their conditions before they go to a general practitioner and then feeling a set of more positive feelings about the experience of the visit with the general practitioner.

At first glance, I might have thought that patients googling would not help patient/provider relationships.  My intuition may have been that the process of obtaining information from the world wide web would have been seen as a substitute for positive patient/general practitioner interaction.  Instead, it seems to be complementary to and encouraging of positive interaction.

Patients have a choice--go to the general practitioner, invest their time in conversation with the GP, and come away with an experience that will guide their future health and well-being.  Alternatively, they can spend time before the visit gathering information (a use of a scarce resource), then engage in conversation with the general practitioner.  While my intuition may have been to think that patients would use the information as a substitute for interaction with the general practitioner.  What seems to happen is that the patients are taking the information and using the information to strengthen their interaction with their general practitioner.

This suggests that at least some patients see the value of the improved interaction with the physician as being more than the value of the time that it takes to search for information on the internet.  This suggests that the value of improved interaction must be substantial.

Of course, this is not just a patient issue. It is also a physician issue.  The physicians must believe that the information that patients bring to them is useful and does not interfere with the interaction.

The information from this new study may help patients and providers to plan better for more effective and more efficient interaction in the future.  


  1. Its good information that you can provide. i also search these type of information its good for us.
    Thank you so much !!

  2. Yeah, true. If a patient gets some previous knowledge about his disease, he can discuss the topic more thoroughly with the physician. It increases the Possibility of understanding complex medical terms.Patient can get his doubts clarified and ask questions if he hasn't understood any online material.Sometimes, Physicians don't seem to be much happy, but later on they get adjusted to it.

  3. Thank you, thats very interesting information. I need to share with my friends.

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