Doctors Use the Internet More to Connect With Reflux Patients
Increasingly doctors are using the web to communicate with their patients. Each of the doctors and specialists my kids see has a website with information about the practice, office hours and even the capability to download forms or make an appointment. It used to be that I waited and waited for the doctor to call back but now it might be more about watching the inbox rather than keeping the phone line free. Some doctors even use email to communicate with patients or family members about routine questions and concerns. All of these changes will hopefully increase communication and efficiency for doctors and patients.
Here is an interesting idea-Maybe your child’s doctor is reading this! Now doctors are lurking on social networking sites and online discussion boards like HealthCentral to find out what parents are talking about. This might seem like an alarming thought to you. It makes sense though. Study after study show what we already know: parents and especially moms are accessing the web to find out more about their own health issues and health concerns for family members. For example, HealthCentral gets 12 million new visitors per month! One study showed a marked increase in moms using social media as well as moms going on line with their cell phone. Parents and caretakers go online for information about diseases such as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, symptoms and treatments. Another important need is to find support from another parent or patient.
I am glad doctors are going to where the reflux moms and dads are in cyberspace. I think it will help doctors understand how we are getting information and the sources we used whether it is a discussion board or a disease information site. I hope the time on the web will increase their understanding of our point of view as caretakers. The burden of caretaking can be great when you have a baby with reflux. I have seen so many well written descriptions of symptoms and day to day events that may be very instructive to a doctor in understanding why we often look so worried and fatigued in the office. Doctors in training used to be sent to the home of patients to increase their knowledge of chronic illness outside of the hospital setting. Now a doctor in training can spend an hour on a discussion board and find out exactly what a typical day and long night is like when you have a baby with reflux just from reading a discussion board.
The question is-would you want your child’s doctor to join the discussion or do you prefer to just talk parent to parent?