Wall Street Journal Examines Online Medical Search Services
The Wall Street Journal today examines medical search services established to provide information from the Internet and medical databases about standard and new treatments, alternative therapies, clinical trials and experts for patients with a number of medical conditions. The "little-known but powerful" services offer the latest information to consumers who may not have the time to conduct their own research. According to the Journal, "at a time when medical research is moving at an unrelenting clip -- with thousands of clinical trials under way all over the world -- even the best doctors don't always have the time or resources to keep up with every promising new treatment." The services also provide information that could lead to more specific diagnoses and details about treatments available abroad. "I don't have any magic information that others don't have access to, but you have to know where to get it," Gary Schine, a leukemia survivor who founded Schine On-Line Services, said. He added, "It might be that all you'll learn is that what your doctor is proposing is the best possible treatment. But you'll have the assurance of knowing you left no stone unturned." However, the Journal reports that few of the services hire physicians to compile reports for consumers, and as a result, "it is important to maintain some skepticism, because the reports aren't always right." The services range in price from $195 to $550. Some services include telephone consultations at no cost, and others provide research updates each month for a fee (Parker-Pope, Wall Street Journal, 11/26).
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