Sunday, December 13, 2015

Internet Replacing Doctors - No Need For Doctors Anymore?

Back in the day, when you had a medical issue, most likely you would have to go to the doctor to get a diagnosis on what was wrong and how to treat it. You might have also been able to get some information from medical books, but this could be difficult and the books could be outdated. Nowadays with the internet, whenever you have any issues or questions, you can do a quick search and have the answers you are looking for within seconds.

There are lots of good medical websites on the internet right now with comprehensive information on symptoms, treatment, and more. There are also lots of other people who may have the same issues and are sharing their experience or what treatment has worked for them. So with all this information out there, is there a need to go to the doctor anymore?

The answer is yes, for things like prescription medicine, lab tests, and surgeries, but for diagnosing minor issues, it is pretty easy to do this now with the internet without having to make a doctors appointment.

Recently I had noticed some red marks on my skin so I went to the internet to do some research on skin conditions. I was able to go over all the options and narrow it down to what seemed to be the best match based on the symptoms and testimonials. Just to be sure, I decided to make an appointment with the doctor just to get a 2nd opinion.

So I talked to the doctor and explained the condition and had him examine the marks. He did not really know for sure what it was, but generalized it and quickly prescribed some generic cream to treat it. I could tell his diagnosis was not as accurate as my own and he did not really seem to have much interest or care about the issue. He said if it does not get better on its own, to see a dermatologist.

Which brings me to another issue. Health insurance often requires you to see a general doctor first before making an appointment with a specialist. In a case like this, it would have been better and more efficient to just go right to a dermatologist who would be more experienced and qualified. Not sure why they require the general appointment first, but it seems like a waste of time and money.

I also noticed doctors offices tend to perform a lot of unnecessary procedures. For example, when you first go in, no matter what it is for, there will be a nurse who takes your temperature, blood pressure, weight, pulse etc. I can understand if it is a general check up that these vital signs should be measured, but for a specific issue, I think they are unnecessary. It seems like just another way they are trying to show they have a purpose, but in fact it seems to be having the opposite effect.

Back to the original point, there is still a need for doctors and nurses, but the internet is definitely cutting down on the need to make appointments for diagnosis. The internet has more information than doctors can know and an individual has more time to search and study the information out there compared to a doctor who is presented with the information and has only a few minutes to make a diagnosis. It will be interesting to see how this effects the health care system in the future if not already.

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