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Posted by Matthew Katz, MD (@mattkatz) · Tue, Jul 8 at 12:00am CDT

Start the Patient-Doctor Relationship with Questions about Gathering Health Information

shutterstock_143279587About one third of U.S. adults with online access will look up health information about a specific condition, but only about half will discuss what they've found with a doctor [Pew Internet]. Recent research suggests patients want to share what they learn online but often get a negative reaction from doctors.

I think we can do better. Starting as collaborators could make a big difference in how medical care is delivered as well as received.

What if, during the very first doctor-patient visit, we talked about where patients gather health information and discussed how to find reliable resources? What if we asked our patients to tell us how they best learn and retain medical information? What if we told our own doctors how we learn?

During an initial visit, a symptoms-based review of systems is a standard part of taking a medical history. I'm suggesting we make time to review patients’ health information status as well.

A health information history would allow doctors to:

  • assess how patients learn and retain information;
  • correct misinformation and ineffective research habits
  • provide accurate, reliable resources
  • establish a positive, collaborative approach to sharing new information.

Take a look at this presentation for more about the questions I believe doctors should probably be asking, as well as what we should be prepared to provide for our patients.

What do you think?

Health Information Review of Systems from Matt Katz, MD

Education physician engagement Physicians Professionalism


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Meredith Gould, PhD (@meredithgould) · Tue, Jul 8 at 10:42am CDT · #

I'm grateful for your emphasis on learning style. It's one of my major memes when I talk with anyone about patient-doctor interaction as well as choosing and using social media for health and health care.

Learning style -- whether someone is primarily visual, auditory or kinesthetic -- is a significant factor that's frequently overlooked or ignored, to the detriment of everyone involved.

Matthew Katz, MD likes this

Matthew Katz, MD (@mattkatz) · Tue, Jul 8 at 6:16pm CDT · #

Thanks, Meredith. I learned about learning styles from you, and it holds true in practice. It's more of a challenge having learning content in more than one style, but I suspect that it's worth the time invested.

Linda Hageman, RN (@hagm04) · Wed, Jul 9 at 7:27am CDT · #

As an Executive Director for American Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Support I often talk to individuals that are getting their medical information from Facebook and other internet sources. There are actually people in these Facebook groups giving medical advice to others and they do not have any medical expertise with the healthcare system. There are also many websites that do not have actual, factual, up to date medical information. This causes much animosity at times. I listen and try to direct these individuals to current sites with good information Linda Hageman, RN

Matthew Katz, MD likes this

Matthew Katz, MD (@mattkatz) · Thu, Jul 10 at 2:55am CDT · #

Thanks Linda for your comment. It can be a challenge to address all the misinformation we find, and some of the content can become dated quickly. All the more reason it may be helpful in the clinic setting to consider asking about where our patients do their learning.

Linda Hageman, RN (@hagm04) · Tue, Jul 15 at 10:08am CDT · #

Hi Matthew,
I try to keep up with some of the websites that I know are not delivering correct information. An excellent idea to find out where a pt. has been getting their medical information. During periods of untoward animosity , I hold my head up high and remember that I am delivering a superb product. Thanks for your input.
I have entered the Patient/Caregiver essay contest. Would you look at the essay and perhaps vote? This is a contest for a free Social Media Week at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. As an executive of a viable non profit this opportunity could help me get the word our about a Rare Disease, that is a cancerous syndrome genetic mutation called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Any input you have would be helpful.

Thank-You for your time and consideration Matthew.
The Best Of Health,
Linda Hageman, RN
Executive Director
American Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Support
Linda Hageman, RN

Linda Hageman, RN (@hagm04) · Tue, Jul 15 at 10:28am CDT · #

Would you give me your permission to share this presentation on our website?
Thanks Linda Hageman, RN