Used well, the blogosphere can be a magnificent source of healthcare information for patients. While consumers must always take care to evaluate the authority of the websites they visit, those who frequent the best medical blogs have some great tools at their fingertips. Of course, like all tools, they are only effective if a patient knows when to use them. Here are our suggestion for what to look for in the top healthcare blogs, and when you should skip them.
Enhancing Health and Wellness
There is a reason so many practitioners emphasize preventive medicine: It works.
When a consumer decides to take control of their own health, costly and debilitating – possibly even fatal – diseases closely tied to lifestyle choices can stop before they ever have a chance to gain a foothold in that consumer's life. Of course, making healthy choices and practicing life-enhancing habits presupposes that consumers have access to accurate, authoritative health information. The best health blogs can be an ally in anyone's search for general health and wellness information. These resources bring readers the most up-to-date medical thinking, and the information is usually vetted by experts in the field.
Learning About Diseases and Conditions
Not many things in life could be worse for a healthcare consumer than leaving the doctor's office with a diagnosis but without any idea what that means for their life. Even when doctors take the time to provide their patients with insights as to what their diagnosis means, patients are often too flustered to really taking what the practitioner is saying. It makes sense to gain a little distance before trying to understand what their diagnosis means. The top healthcare blogs can be a great source of information written with consumers in mind on every conceivable condition and disease. By using this information to enhance their understanding of the implications of what their physician has told them, patients can take the first step towards improving their outcomes.
Understanding Accepted Treatments
The best health blogs are also a great source for patients seeking to understand their treatment options. Today's healthcare consumers want to know why their care teams are pursuing the particular course of action they have chosen, what side effects to watch for, and how they can improve their chances of success.
Knowing What to Ask
Finally, top healthcare blogs are a fabulous resource for consumers who know it is in their best interest to ask their physician questions, but who also do not know what those questions should be. By taking the time to learn what questions he should be asking, he can become more proactive in understanding and implementing his physician's advice.
So, when should a patient skip the Internet and head straight for a medical practitioner? Certainly no one should be checking the Internet instead of heading to the doctor in any of these situations:
Trying to Arrive at a Diagnosis
When Symptoms Seem Serious
In these cases, consult with a profession immediately.