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The 'Net: A Tangled Web of Health Information
Date:4/24/2008

s we used to. This way, they can come in well-educated and ready to discuss their condition. At the end of the visit, I might also refer them to a Web site for more information."

Powell rattled off a list of things that medical Web sites are great for: helping consumers decide when they need to see a doctor; giving them information on selecting the right physician; showing them how to evaluate the treatment they receive; providing questions to ask about an invasive procedure or surgery.

But in the end, King said, your doctor is always going to be able to provide the best assessment of your health.

"I think the computer and the Internet is an excellent tool," he said. "But that's all it is. It doesn't take the place of the relationship between the physician and the patient. Don't think this can become a replacement for your health-care provider."

More information

To learn more about evaluating health information on the Internet, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Don Powell, president and CEO, American Institute for Preventive Medicine, Farmington Hills, Mich.; Jim King, M.D., FAAFP, family practice doctor, Selmer, Tenn., and president, American Academy of Family Physicians


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