A lot of doctors get irked by the patients who come to their clinic with a self-made diagnosis by reading a lot of things on Google. Sounds fair to some extent, because they come with the wrong facts firmly embedded in their head. This makes it difficult to treat them, as they are not convinced easily by the genuine advice that is given by doctors. The doctors have to spend more time to convince them and prevent them from making wrong decisions, which may harm them rather than being of any help.
What we doctors fail to understand is, the problem is not Google or the patients who search Google for their problems, and even if it is the fact is this is going to persist. The problem is the false and confusing or wrong information that is there and the way to counter it is to provide the people in general with more and more genuine and authentic information. So that it helps them in making proper choices for their problems, especially when they are being advised different treatment options by a different set of doctors. If we see from their perspective, they feel totally confused and clueless about what to do when different qualified and expert doctors give a different opinion about their treatment.
To believe that someone is not capable of understanding the problems they are facing, and not capable of making an informed decision is a big mistake. So we as doctors should strive to get as much information about different problems as possible, in a language that is easily understood by a non-medical person. This will not only help them make better decisions, this will improve the compliance of patients to the advice of doctors as they will understand the reason behind the advice.
But with this, the responsibility of the patient also increases, as they are now the active partner in their own treatment. They need to learn the art of understanding what is genuine and what is fake.
A lot of patient’s complaint that some doctors misguided them to a wrong treatment. From my experience I can say, all such patients had opinions of multiple doctors and among these doctors were also those who gave them proper guidance. But they chose to follow the one who gave the wrong advice, either deliberately or out of their poor knowledge. Not going into the discussion who is to blame, it is very clear that only the patients are at an immediate loss. But it the responsibility of both the public and the doctors both to make sure that people in need of guidance should get a correct one. We are in a new age and literacy is no more just the ability to read and write. Literacy in today’s time is the ability to read between the lines, and the ability to send a true message in a stronger way such that it is louder the wrong ones. The onus is on all of us, and surely we will achieve that mark.
Disclaimer; The same article had been published by me on Practo health feed with the below link