ONLINE HEALTH: Services Both ‘Wonderful’ and ‘Frightening’
In the "age of mouse pad medicine," technological advancements prove to have both ups and downs, the Miami Herald reports. Many health professionals worry that online health "might isolate doctors from patients, encourage diagnoses without face-to-face consultations, [and] even let patients buy drugs that are dangerous to them without a prescription." Another concern is misinformation on health Web sites. Dr. Stephen Barrett, founder of the Committee Against Health Fraud that runs Quackwatch, said, "There's a lot of misinformation out there. ... There is misinformation that's misleading on purpose to sell a product, and misinformation by someone who has an allegiance to science, but isn't sufficiently expert." Many doctors claim that "boundless" options in the future of online medicine add significant benefits for patients. Dr. Thomas Linden, professor of medical journalism at University of North Carolina, said, "The most significant thing is that patients are being empowered by the information they find on the Web and dealing with their health care providers in more sensible and informed ways." But despite these enhancements, all agree that nothing can replace "traditional" medicine and an inpatient visit with a good doctor (Tasker, Miami Herald, 3/16).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.