The internet provides unparalled informational resources for consumers and health care. What are the negative and positive aspects of this?

Expert Answers

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There are at least two main positive aspects of all the medical information available on the internet.  First, it can be helpful because it can make for patients who are better informed about their health.  This can potentially help them to be healthier.  Instead of having to wait to talk to doctors, they can find information on the internet and use it in their daily lives.  Second, this can help to lower health care costs.  Patients can avoid the cost of going to the doctor because they can simply find out about their conditions online.

The problems are connected to this ability to find out about their conditions.  Some patients may make mistakes and think that they are okay and do not need medical attention.  They might misdiagnose themselves and forego seeing a doctor until they are serious ill with something that could have been prevented with an earlier visit.  On the other hand, some patients may become obsessed with the idea that they have some disease or another and that they need some test or drug.  This can drive up the cost of health care.

Thus, while all the information can be good, it can also have negative consequences.

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