Information technologies herald a sea change in the way health and medical information is disseminated, potentially moving knowledge from doctors to the general population. This transfer will assist individuals in maintaining and improving their health while also bridging the power and communication divide between health experts and the general public. According to recent surveys, more than half of the population in Canada and the United States has access to the Internet, and most Internet users seek health information.
With the continued growth of medical information websites, health information is becoming increasingly available on the Internet. While many are targeted at health professionals, an increasing number of websites address the general public with information on health issues, self-care, and prevention. Furthermore, online health support groups that give social support and information provide users with 24-hour availability, anonymity, and access to a larger pool of perspectives and knowledge (Cline and Haynes, 2001).
Interactive apps, such as programs for physical activities or smoking cessation, can also be found on the Internet. It is possible to provide email support, track participants’ progress using online personal activity calendars, and develop virtual support groups where participants can interact with these programs. Patients and professionals will be able to track and manage their disease and prevent consequences using experimental interactive modules for managing chronic diseases. Patients will also have access to Internet-based medical records via their PCs. Health professionals will be able to send targeted information to their patients and vice versa using this record. For example, diabetics’ records will be able to include a list of healthy recipes to assist patients in changing their diet. Individuals will also be able to record their glucose levels to be available to the physician at all times.
As a result, this new era of health information technology can provide users with health information tailored to their unique requirements and characteristics. On the other hand, these new technologies have unnoticed flaws and could hinder the aforementioned potential.
Quality of health information on the Internet
The rapid growth of medical information on the Internet raises concerns about its quality and the potential dangers associated with its incorrect or inappropriate use. Because research on the subject is inconsistent with one another, it is currently impossible to estimate the size of the problem. While some authors believe that medical information on the Internet is of poor quality (Doupi and Van der Lei, 1999; Latthe et al., 2000), others believe it is of similar value to information obtained through other means (Sandvik, 1999; Hellawell et al., 2000).
You can ” write for us at Social Buzzness “
Harm and risk of overconsumption
Prevalence of erroneous and misleading material on the Internet. Apart from the fact that information can be incomplete or based on insufficient scientific evidence, fraudulent or misleading information can also be found, particularly in online support forums where spectacular anecdotes and unbalanced viewpoints are prevalent. This could put customers’ health at risk if they misinterpret information or pursue unsuitable remedies.
Internet users have difficulty distinguishing between material-promoting pharmaceuticals and non-promotional information on health problems and treatments. Furthermore, while awareness of many therapeutic options allows patients to be better informed and make informed decisions, it can also lead to people pressuring doctors to prescribe ineffective medication. Finally, it is now possible to make more or more minor legal internet medication purchases, which may constitute a health risk owing to overconsumption, unsafe items, therapeutic interactions, and other factors. Given the preceding, the risk from the standpoint of public health is that the Internet could increase the use of health services and pharmaceuticals without having a good influence on care quality or illness prevention.
Also Read – ” Tips To Take Your Health Insurance Policy To The Next Level “
What to do to make the situation better?
First, it will be essential to make Internet connections more accessible in households and public areas (public libraries, schools, etc.). It will also be necessary to build new support services, such as WebTV (Internet on Television) or easier-to-use Web-specific interfaces. It might also be fascinating to mix the Internet with other media, such as NHS Direct, a service provided by the National Health Service in the United Kingdom that gives health information online and over the phone.
Second, significant work needs to be done to organize health and medical information to be easy to locate, relevant, and ready to use, especially for persons with limited health literacy. Pamphlets and earlier types of health training may not be able to provide as many visual and interactive learning opportunities as new information technology may. To achieve this, medical information websites must be established in collaboration with laypeople, particularly those in need of health information. It’s critical to understand how people use the Internet, what information they require, and how that information should be organised and presented to use to maintain and improve their health effectively.
The Internet holds great promise for educated individuals who know how to locate relevant information on the Internet on self-care and disease prevention, as well as how to deal with the healthcare system. According to studies, most Internet users are satisfied with the information they find, and half of those looking for health information say their results have influenced treatment decisions. However, suppose health information is tailored to their needs and skills. In that case, Internet promises will only be realized for the remainder of the population, including the less educated, the elderly, and those with multiple health issues.