Taking an active role in your healthcare requires that you
communicate effectively with the other members of your healthcare
team—the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other
professionals—with whom you've chosen to work. The
following tips can help you integrate information you find into
that team effort:
- Value your own knowledge, judgment, and experience, but keep
a sense of perspective about what you know and don't know.
- Value the years of specialized training, experience, and
ongoing educational activities that licensed healthcare
professionals have invested in learning to care for you.
- Ask the members of your healthcare team for their
recommendations on websites that might be useful to you.
- If you decide to bring information you found on the Web with
you for an office visit, be selective. Organize what you bring.
Highlight a key point or two that you want to focus on or ask
- Don't expect a healthcare provider to read what you bring
during your visit. Both of you need to respect each other's time,
as well as the time of other patients in the waiting room.
- The results of your Web search may yield useful information.
But keep in mind that you are a unique individual and that what
works for other people may not work well for you.
- Be aware that healthcare professionals have been trained to
look at information, even medical research, with a critical eye.
Don't expect personal testimonials or advertising claims to hold
much weight with them. For more information about medical
research, see click here.
- For a good layperson's guide to finding medical articles and
assessing their value, read "How to Read a Paper:
Getting Your Bearings (Deciding What the Paper Is
About)" click here.
This is the second of ten articles written by Trisha Greenhalgh
and published in the British Medical Journal (Vol. 315, No 7102).