Almost every day I receive an email from someone with a new infographic they would like me to consider posting on my blog. Most of them never see the light of day; however, this one interested me. It points out the reality and inevitability of online self-diagnosis. It also addresses some potential dangers of online self-diagnosis. My problem with this graphic is that it doesn’t tell the whole story. It fails to point out the benefit of having access to this online health information and to other people who’ve experienced the same symptoms or illness. The real question is: Do the rewards outweigh the risks.
I would also point out that there’s a whole lot more that healthcare organizations can be doing online to engage patients and concerned family members, and provide them with legitimate information and resources about their condition. Here’s the deal: If there is a void, someone is going to fill it. If you look at the proliferation of online patient communities it is easy to see that hospitals and health systems were not the first to meet the unfilled needs of patients seeking information (and community). Even thought they are late to the game, this is an opportunity that every hospital should be working to address.
Credit for the Infographic goes to InsuranceQuotes.org.