The world of health care can be a confusing one. From complex conditions about pre-existing conditions to deductibles and covered care, sifting through the legalities and logistics of healthcare can make your head spin. But don’t let yourself get too dizzy.
Luckily, there’s a nearly endless supply of sources on the internet to help health care patients better understand their diagnosis as well as possible treatment options. From personal blogs to professional healthcare insurance websites to official government websites offering up advice, readers can really soak up information and use it to their benefit.
In fact, the internet is actually changing the way patients, doctors, nurses, and researchers contribute to the conversation on healthcare around the world today.
Interactive Web Projects
While scientific studies are almost always accompanied by reports and scientific published articles, that information does not reach the general public as easily. Dense scientific terminology often distracts from important discoveries that can benefit the general population.
Now more than ever, scientists are turning to the internet to share important findings with regular people in a more accessible, digestible manner.
One of these methods is through interactive web projects, which essentially show scientific findings rather than talking about them in scientific journals.
For example, the Ann Myers Medical Center has used such technology to demonstrate to women how to conduct their own breast exam.
Others, like Tom Brand, executive director of the Norcross, Ga., consulting firm Avid Design, suggests using this technology for doctors to talk directly with potential patients online to discuss how specific surgical procedures are conducted. As he sums up, a text outlining a procedure does not connect with people in the same way hearing a doctor’s voice, and seeing his/her face will resonate with potential patients.
Some scientists are calling on patients themselves to help spread the word about advancements in procedures, technology, and results. Who better to hear from, than the patients affected most closely? That’s what researchers at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota did. They announced a study regarding Celiac disease on Twitter, then reached out to some of the Tweet’s followers (of whom also had Celiac disease) to ask if they’d consider blogging about the topic.
No one can deny this offers a unique first-hand perspective on treatment and health care.
However, opponents of the recent innovation wonder whose opinion is worthy of professional advice when it comes to scientific study.
Still, the scientific community must brainstorm how to appeal to a world of internet users that are hungry for fresh perspectives, easy-to-read content, with clear opinions and concise explanations.
Promotion through Social Media and Videos
Other hospitals, scientists, and researchers have turned to social media to get the word out about new studies and developments.
The range of healthcare information included in these types of social media outlets varies, including information about a hospital’s additions or developments, patient recovery success stories, or even individual responses about individual health-related inquiries.
The main advantage in approaching healthcare news in this way is that hospitals and researchers are able to reach large masses of people, free, within a matter of seconds.
Little by little, social media is putting a face to healthcare which is often explained in a sterile, impersonal manner.
Of course, any advancement in technology also comes with its setbacks and challenges.
The major setbacks when it comes to discussing serious medical conditions and health risks is that the internet does not ward off against inaccurate information. Unfortunately, the case is many times the opposite.
Anyone in front of a computer can become an instantaneously published author, no matter the credibility or lack thereof.
Especially when it comes to sensitive medical information, patients become prone to misinformation or incomplete information that may guide them astray when diagnosing or assessing potential remedies.
Secondly, patients may believe they are sharing personal health information privately through messaging or other platforms. However, content published on the internet should never be trusted as completely private.
While the technology online surrounding healthcare is yet to be perfected, nevertheless, it’s revolutionizing the way we learn and share new ideas that can change people’s lives all around the world.