Digital Medicine

Using the Internet to Improve Your Health

2 min read

Editor’s Note: WebMD’s chief medical editor, Michael W. Smith, MD, wrote the following commentary for USA Weekend’s HealthSmart Oct. 20-23, 2008, issue.

In my nearly 10 years at WebMD, Internet health information has transformed the practice of medicine and patient care.

Years ago, your doctor was often the only source of information. Now, with the Internet at your fingertips, you are much more likely to be informed about your health – even before you get to the doctor.

That’s a great thing and should engender a sense of empowerment and personal responsibility for your health – and your family’s.

What does your doctor think about this? In a recent survey on a doctors-only discussion board on WebMD’s network, 91% of doctors said Internet health information was at least somewhat helpful for their patients.

Because the “10-minute office visit” is the reality of today’s patient care, the Internet couldn’t have come at a better time. By researching your symptoms, exploring possible treatments and learning what you can do to keep yourself healthy, you can make the most of the limited time you have with your doctor.

The challenge can be in knowing where to look. Do a search on the Web and you are inundated with millions of choices.

This issue is meant to help you sort through the various ways you can use the Internet as an aid to your health. You’ll meet six fascinating people who have turned to the Internet to empower themselves to help manage their health conditions. We hope you’ll enjoy this look at the up-to-date state of digital medicine.

WebMD Commentary is the opinion of the author and the author alone. It may not reflect the opinion of WebMD. Because commentary articles are opinion-based and often allow an author to draw their own conclusions, they are not medically reviewed.