It's often used incorrectly
When talking to these professionals, it seemed like the most frustrating part of WebMD, was the fact that it really COULD be a very viable medical tool for the untrained layperson, but (like in the examples listed above) it's hardly, if ever, used correctly.
"WebMD is a resource, that, combined with a doctor's expertise, can be a valuable tool," Dr. Kaplan said. "Being educated on medical fact isn't the problem, every doctor should be handing out information to his patients, keeping them informed. It's how it's being used. There are patients that frankly need resources online, and I'd much rather them use WebMD than a message board, that's where it becomes a nightmare. You're very fortunate your girlfriend is a PA and can talk to you about issues—not everyone has that."
Dr. Rich agrees, "The bottom line is, it is not WebMD’s fault that people make incorrect conclusions. It is information just like any information that we have access to in this modern world. It is how we use that information that matters."
Prognosis: WebMD, in itself, is actually very useful. People are just using it incorrectly. But you, having read this entire article, already know that, of course.
Wil Fulton is a staff writer for Supercompressor.com; he's never played a doctor on TV, but would like to one day. Follow him @WilFulton.
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