Doctor-Patient Relationship in the internet age

This blog post was motivated by an excellent article in NYT today. The Internet has skewed this doctor-patient relationship and is hurting more than anything else.

Part of the problem is related to the industrialisation of medicine- dominant for-profit hospitals (despite the moniker of “charitable/research” centres). It is true that hospitals want to make a profit. However, they also create employment in local areas. There are real people with families to support. Further, no one has been able to adequately define the actual costs of healthcare-which is mutually acceptable to all parties concerned.

Mainstream media has also fanned the negative perception about the medical profession. Human/administrative errors are reported with the same bellicosity as gun shootings. It causes opinions to be polarised; but for a few bad apples, the entire silent majority get vilified. No doctor would ever want harm to the patient; regulations be damned.

I agree with the author that terminal illness clouds judgement entirely. On a personal note, I had been diagnosed with Dengue fever; for me, that was scary enough to push me to despair. As a physician, it was hard not to imagine end-stage renal failure. Yet, I chose to rely on a fantastic physician who allayed my anxiety and suggested me measures to overcome the issues associated with it. I was back to work in less than a week.

The way out of this mess is to get more clinicians on the social media. More doctors have to write about their experiences and thoughts about recreating the trust between patients and doctors. Functional autonomy is desirable. However, physicians clinician judgement for the patient, remains paramount.



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