More than ever, patients have easy access to information once read only by scientists and medical professionals. And at the same time, doctors have reduced the time spent with patients during appointments. The result has been an increase in internet-educated patients, who come to appointments armed with data from package inserts, information from internet health forums, and stacks of questions from net-savvy relatives.
There is a good side to this process, of course. Patients are wise to take greater interest in their personal health, and to be knowledgeable of medications that they are taking. And whether good or bad, the situation is necessary, given the abdication by many physicians of their roles as educators.
But there are downsides to the situation as well.