- We all would agree that is important to educate patients and their families about their disorder, their medications, and about other topics related to their illness. Sounds good on paper, BUT…
- …the problem is TIME. Sessions are briefer than they used to be and there’s so much other stuff that could be accomplished in the time we do have.
- Is there ONE website that we can tell patients about that will not only provide reliable information about the illness and medications, but also link patients to other reliable websites?
- The internet can be a great resource for patient education but it is hard to know which websites to recommend — firstly because there are literally thousands of websites with mental health information, and secondly because the internet is full of all kinds of unreliable and misleading information.
- What is the ONE and ONLY website we need to know about for patient education? One website that will cover all our patients, all the disorders we treat, all the medications we prescribe?
- Before we get to that, I hope you don’t think that many of your patients don’t have regular internet access? Not true! The overwhelming majority of adults from all backgrounds have internet access and are already using it to obtain medical information.
- The problem is that clinicians usually don’t recommend websites to patients. There was a study in which 2/3rds of patients said that they think that doctors should recommend specific websites to patients (PMID: 11929503).
- So what do patients do instead? They Google. And what do they find on Google? More BS than reliable information.
- The ONE website I recommend for patient education is www.medlineplus.gov.
- Please note that even though it is called medlineplus, this is NOT similar to MEDLINE. MEDLINE is research articles for physicians. Medlineplus.gov is information for patients.
- This website is run by the National Library of Medicine and it contains tons of information about all disorders and diseases and about all medications.
- Now, here’s the REAL strength of this website: It not only provides good information about the disorder or medication but it provides LINKS to dozens or hundreds of OTHER websites that are considered reliable.
- You can think of medlineplus.gov as a PORTAL through which the patient can access MANY different reliable websites.
- So all you have to do is to recommend medlineplus.gov and the patient/ family can find reliable information both on that website and at other websites that medlineplus.gov will link to.
- We should recommend Medlineplus.gov to EVERY patient and encourage our patients to look up information about their disorder, their medications, and so on. We should also encourage them to discuss with us what they learned and to ask us questions as needed
- Try it yourself!
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