Saturday, April 9, 2011

How the Internet has changed healthcare

Author: David Spader

There is no denying it, the internet has dramatically changed virtually every facet of our lives. From communication to entertainment, the web enables us to access a wide array of information with the simple point and click of a mouse. Along with all the common things we think of, the internet has also radically changed healthcare and the way it works in this country.

Perhaps the most important healthcare related internet development is the availability of information. There was once a time when an individual, if they were feeling ill, would have to hold off and wait to act until after they saw a medical professional. However, now, thanks to the virtual libraries available in cyberspace, a individual who feels that something may be wrong doesn’t have to wait until they actually see a doctor. Instead they can take advantage of technology, log on, and do some research about their symptoms. While this in no way replaces a visit to a doctor, and the importance of not self-diagnosing one’s self cannot be overstated, this new ability to at least have an idea about what certain symptoms may be mean can provide some peace of mind to individuals waiting for an appointment with their physician.

Research and Options

The internet has changed the healthcare industry in other ways as well. It gives consumers the ability to conduct their own research and weigh their own options.

In the past, if a person needed a doctor they would go to their family doctor, or if they needed more advanced medical treatment, they were referred by their primary care physician to a specialist. Thanks to the vast seas of information available online, consumers can log on and pick a doctor for themselves. Where a doctor practices, their area expertise, their credentials, and even what others may think of that physician based on personal experience, all of that information is at the fingertips of a potential patient. Consumers should take advantage of this relatively new found ability to research doctors as it can only stand to benefit them.

Moreover, it stands to benefit the doctors as well, as potential patients become better educated.

The incredible amount of information on the web has also changed healthcare by allowing consumers to more easily and efficiently research different health insurance plans and providers. In the past, when information was not more readily available individuals had fewer options. Now however, thanks to the ease of use of the web, folks can compare and contrast different health insurance plans the way they would two different restaurants.

Just as it has changed everything else in society, the internet has changed, and will continue to change, the healthcare industry.

About the author:

David Spader is a freelance writer who normally provides savings accounts reviews over at SavingsAccount.Org. He recently wrote about the best savings account rates available right now.

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