Saturday, 9 July 2011

Near-patient googling.... any thoughts?


  1. I do it lots. Useful in many ways. Sometimes not appropriate or needed/wanted. Also means I can share my good links....

  2. I'm an MD in a college town w/ pretty tech savvy patients. I tell them I am "consulting the Oracle" to get the most up-to-date 411, then I share the site with them. All seem appreciative as they know
    1) I can't possibly "know it all;
    2) I am keeping up to the minute
    3) I am sharing it with them, and
    4) they now feel empowered to consult the same RELIABLE source I just shared with them.

    I think I am "re-branding" doctors and medical information when I do that.

  3. I use specific sites when patients with me, but occasionally google when the usual sites don't come up with anything useful.... which is always accompanied by me commenting on ways of ensuring the information gained is valid!!
    PS It was odd seeing my friend Steve's tweets popping up on your site - I've emailed him the link!

  4. i'm all for the democratisation and sharing of knowledge and information but feel do feel clinicians should try to at least appear to be one small step ahead of their patients for general queries at least

    (maybe not for specialist conditions where the patient is often likely to be more expert than their primary care physician)

    the problem with using google and similar is that the patient may reasonably think:

    "i could do this myself, Doc. I understand you can't know it all and respect your keeping up to date and sharing this with me but I'm watching you trawl the internet while the clock's ticking away on my 10 minute consultation"

    anyone who still visits a travel agent will recognise the thrill of watching the professional punching away at a computer whilst wondering should they have done it themselves online. At least the travel agent has a smiley face, chatty demenour, fresh coffee and less time constraints.

    my own approach is to use readily accessibly pre-screened and previously used sources where possible so it appears at least I have some prior awareness/knowledge and am just checking my facts or re-locating a good source to share with them

    any reliable source will do (GP Update Patient Plus GP notebook etc) but it helps if you look like you going straight to that source rather than just searching afresh each time - a variety of browser plugins bookmarking and tools can help - improving efficiency and satisfaction for clinician and patient alike

    I'm developing my own database of knowledge/links/information @ - the idea is search once, save once and refind/update a little more easily next time

    I go to my own (Wordpress) site first then if i need to search further afield and find something useful i post the link or snippet of information back on my own site - patients are particularly empowered they can see the same page updated with information gleaned from our shared encounter about their individual condition


I am reintroducing word verification to cut back on spam posts. I'm sorry if you find it frustrating,