Technology has empowered people in managing their own medical and dental care. Ready access to healthcare information makes it possible for people of all ages to bolster fitness, prevent illness, identify symptoms and remedy minor issues. The Internet can locate healthcare professionals, pinpoint specialties, verify credentials and showcase expertise through sophisticated web sites. Significant positive information and valid education pour freely from computer screens “twenty-four-seven.”
The extraordinary value of online medical guidance can quickly change for the worse when self-proclaimed experts dilute evidence based science with their unscientific opinions. It is difficult for the healthcare consumer to sift through medical information and discern truth. Amateurs can easily taint actual research results and skew findings. The banter of destructive commentary that is so prevalent on-line can be highly influential and totally without merit, and ironically, might keep a patient from choosing the doctor or dentist best suited to meet their needs.
Good physicians and dental specialists are proud to be held to a high standard. They have invested “time, talent and treasure” in learning to become fluent in the language of human healing. They have taken the Hippocratic Oath and have embraced ethics at a very high level. In spite of shadows sometimes cast on Internet, most doctors are solidly focused on making their patients healthy and happy.
The best advice is to be objective when evaluating Internet advice. Look to the source of the information and determine whether the message is scientifically based and springing from experience or merely the articulation of biased opinion. A little time and wisdom help this analysis. When weighing two opposing perspectives on the proper way to treat an issue, education and credentials are key to making the right choice. The Internet is a valuable resource for providing information but it is not the Bible of any medical/dental discipline.