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Online Health Information Finally Clicks


Kristen Gerencher of The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch, recently interviewed me about internet users and online health information.  The article appeared on the MarketWatch website, August 21:

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch)—It’s not yet a perfect match, but the relationship between Internet users and online health information appears to be growing serious.

And slowly but surely, more doctors and health-care professionals are seeing the value when patients empower themselves with knowledge.

Receiving a new diagnosis or helping a loved one through a health crisis can motivate even the most squeamish or technology-averse people to dive into the world of online health information. Websites also fill in when people can’t take time off work or afford the money to see a doctor.

But knowing how to get what you’re looking for without being misled, coerced by commercial interests or scared silly can be harder than it looks.

First, the good news.

“The information that’s available online, particularly on the good sites, has improved dramatically,” says Jessie Gruman, president and founder of the Center for Advancing Health, a Washington-based nonprofit that aims to increase people’s engagement in their health care.

“There is nothing like having a sense of what’s going on in your body and how this drug, procedure, surgery or diagnostic test is going to make a difference in how you feel and your ability to move around and work,” she says. “You can get information like that [online] that’ s really important for your own self-confidence and your ability to talk to your clinicians.”

Read the rest of the article on the MarketWatch website.


More Blog Posts by Jessie Gruman

author bio

Jessie C. Gruman, PhD, was founder and president of the Center for Advancing Health from 1992 until her death in July 2014. Her experiences as a patient — having been diagnosed with five life-threatening illnesses — informed her perspective as an author, advocate and lead contributor to the Prepared Patient Blog. Her book, AfterShock, helps patients and caregivers navigate their way through the health care system following a serious or life-threatening diagnosis. The free app, AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis, offers a pocket guide based on the book. | More about Jessie Gruman

Tags for this article:
Health Information Technology   Seek Knowledge about your Health   Inside Healthcare   Patient Engagement  

Comments on this post
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Dirk says
August 22, 2012 at 4:46 PM

more access to information is good if, and really only if, there is some vetting/quality-assurance of the info and if the consumer has some effective degree of scientific literacy to process the info, by and large we seem to be a long way from these kinds of public health goals, maybe Drs offices, if not the Drs, themselves could be providing (or partnering with) such services. Perhaps government health agencies could also get with the times. The question, as always, I realize is who will pay for such services and who will demand such kinds of coverage?