Report confirms patients helping patients helps

A recent report by Pew Internet and American Life Project found that the internet gives patients and caregivers access not only to information, but also to each other. In particular, 20% adults say they turned to others who have the same health condition.

As Susannah Fox, author of the report explains:

The internet enables people to help people in a way we couldn’t help each other before. The internet gives people access to not only information, but also to each other.

They say no one really knows what they’re going through except someone in the same situation. Those personal tips can make all the difference in the world.

In other words, patients are seeking information and advice from a healthcare professional. In fact, according to the report, 70% of adults say they received information, care, or support from a health professional. This point is critical to keep in mind, particularly for providers, pharmaceuticals, and device manufacturers thinking about implementing patient adherence programs. The fear often expressed and usually implied is that patients will be attempting to “play doctor”. As Ms Fox elaborates:

The oft-repeated fear that patients are using the internet to self-diagnose and self-medicate without reference to medical professionals does not emerge.

Consequently, in addition to medical advice, patients are seeking out each other. The value of a patient story is that it gives other patients real world information on how to treat and manage their disease — from another patient’s perspective.

Boxcutters Jewel #242 – Patients helping patients — personal tips can make all the difference in the world!

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