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Readers Respond: What Concepts and Events Shaped the Patient Experience from 2000-2009?

Responses: 4

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Updated December 11, 2009

Now that you've read about patient empowerment's decade in review, you may have some ideas of your own about the good, the bad and the ugly of the past decade in health and medical care. Share them here!

Too Much Information

I agree with Shereen's comment about finding information on the Internet. In some respects, it's wonderful to be able to find information on conditions and illnesses. It can be so helpful for basic things like treating the cold or flu or for finding more about something you've been diagnosed with. On the other hand, looking up your symptoms can lead to a host of problems (got a headache? Maybe it's a brain tumor!). We have to be careful how we use the Internet to find information that is actually helpful rather than harmful.
—PaigeExercise

The McDonaldization of Health Care

Sorry, I reached my limit. But there is much, much more to say on this topic. "Patient empowerment" is not necessarily a universally good thing -- especially when patients/families lack the knowledge required to make good, reasonable decisions. In addition, MDs do not always make decisions ONLY according to the best interests of their patients. There is an inherent conflict of interest when treatments=money for physicians.
—Guest Catharine

The McDonaldization of Health Care

One pitfall that corresponds both with the patient becoming a more active participant in his/her own care AND the fact that hospitals all over the nation are taking on the corporate model is the movement for patients to be considered, treated as, even called "customers." I do not have the time to explain the many, many ways that this is just plain wrong. I will say that patients/patient families are being forced to make decisions that they are, to say the least, ill-equipped to make. When families say "do everything" for a patient who is at the end of a terminal illness/disease, families generally do not know what they are asking for it (or why) and furthermore make decisions based on the possibility of a "miracle," for example, they often believe that during the time of their family member's critical, end stage illness a "cure" will be discovered. This underscores the fact that families not only have no idea how science/medical science works, but also don't have any sense of ..
—Guest Catharine

The Internet - Good, Bad and Ugly

I believe the massive amounts of healthcare information fits all three categories. It's wonderful that we can find answers to our questions with a quick Google search. We can learn so much about diseases and conditions, which is good (once you know a diagnosis), and social networking means a patient doesn't have to feel alone - we can find an important sense of community. But we can also drive ourselves crazy reading about problems we think we might have - many diseases have similar symptoms. And the reader can go into 'overload' looking at reports of so many different studies. Plus there're some sites that just aren't trustworthy, and we can run into some shady advertising and scams. I think a lot of healthcare providers cringe when a patient brings in several printouts from Internet sites. Sites like Trisha's Patient Empowerment site are so beneficial because we can trust what we read and readers can learn how to use the Internet wisely
—Guest Shereen

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