MEDICAL INFORMATION: British Doctors See Internet as Threatening
British doctors see Internet use among patients as damaging to the "traditional relationship between doctor and patient," according to a survey by the Imperial College Management School. The survey of 300 obstetricians and gynecologists found most doctors were concerned that patients could possibly be "misled" by "inaccurate" information on the Internet. The study, titled "The Impact of the Internet on the Doctor-Patient Relationship," found that 75% of those polled think all doctors should be trained to use the Internet, but less than 50% said they would recommend Web sites to their patients. Less than 4% believed that all online information was "sufficiently accurate and balanced." Dr. Benita Cox, the study's co-author, said the Internet has the ability to change the "power relationship" between doctors and patients. The Internet "facilitates the 'informed' patient and thus provides a competing power alternative. Patients may challenge not only the veracity of the doctor's superior clinical knowledge but also their choice of treatment," Cox said. She added that doctors should keep up with the information available online in order to assess the good information from the bad (Martin, London Daily Telegraph/Washington Times, 10/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.