Patients obtain medical information not only from their healthcare team but also from the Internet. Time Magazine's Bonnie Rochman discusses one potential benefit of this phenomenon in a fascinating article entitled, "When Patients Share Medical Data Online."
Nowadays clinicians can't possibly keep up with the volume of new information published each year. Consequently cutting-edge knowledge trickles down like molasses from the lab to physicians' offices.
Some researchers see a solution: The Internet. Computers can process data inputted by patients all over the country. Thus researchers can learn what works and what doesn't work as quickly as possible, a process dubbed "rapid learning."
This collaboration between populations of patients and teams of researchers is a logical extension of the collaboration that takes place daily between individual patients and their physicians.
The potential to share information via the World-Wide Web gave rise to the Society for Participatory Medicine, a natural outgrowth of the ongoing patient-empowerment movement called "Patient 2.0" by some.
The medical community has been watching the evolution of Patient 2.0 with both excitement and concerns. Rochman points out the same worry I express in "Blog World,": A strong scientific underpinning is often lacking in patient-generated postings.
The Internet is not going away. So it is imperative that patients understand what science is, as discussed in Faith in Science.
Of course, Healthy Survivors are at less risk because the first step to Healthy Survivorship is to obtain sound knowledge -- i.e. science-based information.