2_From Patients to End Users

2_From Patients to End Users - Saturday 9 March 2002 BMJ...

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Saturday 9 March 2002 BMJ From patients to end users Quality of online patient networks needs more attention than quality of online health information BMJ 2002;324:555-6 P + Guidelines for patients who want to use the web appear on bmj.com Some doctors still tremble in their boots when patients bring in printouts from the internet If they refuse to read them, their patients may take offence. But if they attempt to review and discuss them, they may precipitate long, inconclusive discussions. And since many internet aware patients bring in infor mation which their doctors know nothing about,1 such discussions can sometimes be embarrassing. Conse quently, some doctors have gone so far as to warn their patients, "Whatever you do, don't go on the internet" Some studies seem to confirm the wisdom of such advice. A recent literature search turned up 100 studies that attempted to rate the accuracy and completeness of health information on the world wide web. Ratings ranged from about 15% to 85% (Eysenbach G. personal communication). Some doctors have under standably concluded that the healthcare information on the net is not to be trusted. Our recent surveys at the Pew Internet and Ameri can Life Project offer a strikingly different perspec tive.2 3 Of adults from the United States who had
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