WSJ article on symptom checkers
Jason.Maude at ISABELHEALTHCARE.COM
Tue Jul 23 10:00:41 UTC 2013
Great article today in the WSJ today on the proliferation in use of symptom checkers by patients and how healthcare providers are starting to actually encourage their use.
I believe that sophisticated symptom checkers are the key to the next stage in the democratisation of healthcare. The internet has provided patients with lots of medical information which is great if you know what you are looking for (I.e a diagnosis that your doctor told you) but not if you don't and just have symptoms that are bothering you. Symptom checkers are the tool that will allow the patient to make sense of the medical information.
Interesting themes to explore further are:
--Doctors getting patients to use symptom checkers to help them assess whether they should come in for a consultation
--If a diagnosis was missed by the doctor and the patient had used a credible and validated symptom checker or even the one their hospital provided on their website and suggested to their doctor the diagnosis that was missed, what would be the legal position?
--We will soon have a strange situation where patients (40% of them already acc to the article) are routinely using symptom checkers but doctors aren't routinely using diagnosis decision aids. How can it be routine practice for the patient but not at all for doctors?
--The implications of an increasingly educated base of patients on the current healthcare business model is also interesting to think about. Has Rick Ramirez in the article spent more or less on healthcare as a result of using a symptom checker?
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