There is a lot going on in this ad, but what isn’t going on is communication!
The doctor is talking vitamins but is ready to incise and drain an apple.
He isn’t even looking at the patient…
…who isn’t even listening!
I guess the way to a patient’s heart is not holding up a piece of fruit and shouting “VITAMINS!”
Something tells me the guy-with-the-hat is a lost cause anyway.
He is too busy thinking about the twelve-inch juicy porterhouse steak, fried potatoes and buttered green beans he’s going to have for dinner!
They took away our internet access at work.
Not sure why. It was house-wide, not just the ER.
It was sure hard for the doc to look up a drug yesterday, he had to actually call a pharmacy at 0230 for the information.
I seem to remember looking stuff up in books.
I’ve use the ER computers to download detailed diabetes information in Spanish, or more thorough information on various diseases for my patients.
Okay. On the occasional slow night a Zuma game (or two) might have occurred.
Not that I ever participated.
FYI: don’t learn about Zuma, don’t download Zuma and don’t play Zuma. I downloaded it at home and it is so completely addicting it is scary.
Yes, it is that
I know patients use the internet to look up health information. It can be a great resource for them.
It can also scare the hell out of them.
The triage patient says “I looked it up on the internet, and….”
A lightening bolt of dread strikes the heart.
You see, it is never “I looked it up on the internet and was highly reassured that it is not serious.”
It’s “I looked it up on the internet and I’m dying of liver cancer.”
I did not make that last sentence up.
You can’t fault the patients here. They have access to information and knowledge that was unheard of just ten years ago.
In fact, the amount of information available on the internet is incomprehensible.
Ay, there’s the rub.
Patients have access to the information.
What they lack is context.
That lack of context leads to unnecessary anxiety and often an unnecessary emergency department visit.
Rectal pain and some blood noted in the stool. Not an unusual combination of symptoms, but ones that might lead a person to seek medical advice.
The person who sat in front of me at triage complained of those two symptoms.
A fissure from straining? Possibly. A hemorrhoid? Maybe. A peri-rectal abcess?
No, the patient did not have a peri-rectal abscess but he thought he did. He had googled “rectal pain” and when he found peri-rectal abcess as a possible cause, he came to the ER.
No, excuse me, he ran to the ER.
I don’t fault him for coming to the ER! A peri-rectal abcess is extremely serious. He was frightened out of his wits, sitting there in the triage chair. Visibly shaking.
Seeing his fear, I asked him if he had ever had a peri-rectal abcess or knew someone who did. The answer was negative. But he knew all the potential complications of having one; he had just educated himself on the subject.
Through the internet.
I did not belittle his perception of his problem. But… he didn’t have any pain right at the moment and he was sitting perfectly fine in the chair. No fever or chills. I’ve seen patients with peri-rectal abcesses and they are pretty sick, usually going to surgery right from the ER.
This guy was not sick.
His diagnosis: internal hemorrhoid.
He immediately relaxed, relieved that it was “only” a hemorrhoid.
When I look up a cluster of symptoms on the internet, I don’t get anxious because I have the benefit of context – I know what I am seeing.
How scary is it to the average lay person? They gravitate to the most severe diagnosis they see on the web. They have no context, no experience to help them navigate the massive amounts of available information.
I wonder if the accompanying anxiety is worth the access to information.
And that “patient” who thought he was dying of liver cancer?
It wasn’t a patient. It was my husband. He runs a bilirubin that is slightly above normal and decided to look it up.
He doesn’t have liver cancer.