The healthcare sector has been moving forward with the adoption of health IT systems such as electronic health records (EHRs) and e-prescribing software. However, medical professionals are not the only ones who have consumed their careers with new technology and healthcare IT consulting. The common layperson now uses laptops, smartphones and tablets in order to keep up with their friends, family and co-workers as well as finish job-related processes while on the go.
Today, social media websites, blogs and the internet itself consumes much of the lives of American citizens. Because of this, even patients have begun to rely more on the internet than on the opinions of medical professionals, according to one survey.
RxAlly, a national network of pharmacies, has released a survey that shows more U.S. patients trust the internet instead of their local pharmacist when it comes to healthcare decisions. While pharmacists are the practitioners who have the most training in medication management, the common layperson does not rely on this professional as much as expected.
Only 15 percent of respondents said that they have ever discussed a drug maintenance regimen with their pharmacist while less than half - 49 percent - have ever talked about any new prescribed pill with a professional at the local pharmacy.
More importantly, the study found that 22 percent of respondents trust the internet for their medical decisions while only 18 percent trust a pharmacist the most in these cases. Nonetheless, a majority of surveyed people - 72 percent - follow their doctor's advice first and foremost.
Doctors would be wise to look at these results and speak to their patients about the importance of communicating their health needs with a medical professional instead of relying on the internet. Also, with the expansion of technology, physicians may need to confer with a hospital consultant who offers healthcare IT consulting services.