Assignment 4 final

Assignment 4 final - 1 Writing 140 Healthcare on the...

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1 Writing 140 Healthcare on the Internet: When Can it be Trusted? The use of the Internet to access a variety of information has become common practice for most Americans. In particular, it has become increasingly popular to acquire medical and healthcare information online. There are over 100,000 “health-related” websites, from government health sites and medical journals to sponsored and user- created pages (Morahan-Martin 498). With such a broad variety and immense amount of information, finding reliable medical information can be overwhelming. The ability to access such information can be beneficial if the sources are credible, but if the information is incorrect or incomplete the consequences can be harmful. In the interest of improving the Doctor-patient relationship by having a more educated patient, and making healthcare more accessible and beneficial, the regulation of online health information should be improved. Physicians should educate their patients on how to access reliable information online and standards that are set to review health websites, giving a “stamp of approval” to sites that pass the benchmarks, should be more widely advertised. When a patient decides to look up health information on the Internet, they will most likely access their favorite search engine, type in what they are looking for, and hit enter. Janet Morahan-Martin identifies a problem with this type of searching: “The amount of information provided can be overwhelming. For example, a Google search for SARS in January 2004 found 5,720,000 documents. It can be difficult to sort through so much information” (498). When search results come up with that many documents, how to patients know which ones to pick? Most often, patients will not access sites past the second page. What some people are unaware of is that companies pay for top slots in
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2 search engine results (Morahan-Martin 502). What a patient is often accessing is usually more commercialized information, which is often incomplete. J. A. Powell, M. Darvell, and J. A. M. Gray note in their article on internet healthcare that “many concerns have been raised about the quality of online consumer health information, and the possibility that poor information has detrimental effects on health” (74). They also remind us that “information on the Internet is unregulated. Virtually anyone can publish in the virtual library” (498). If a patient self-diagnoses his or her condition based on misinformation,
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Assignment 4 final - 1 Writing 140 Healthcare on the...

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