By Amanda Conschafter, blog editor
Physicians know that having informed patients can help maximize the physician-patient relationship. But while patients may have ample health information at their fingertips, not all of it is accurate – or usable. With several patient-centered online resources, however, patients can more easily find applicable, reliable information that allows them to collaborate with their physicians and maintain their health.
For example, Get Healthy, Stay Healthy, an initiative of Pfizer Chief Medical Officer Freda Lewis-Hall, M.D., puts a premium on “actionable” health information. As the program’s website explains, informed patients can ask better questions, find the right answers and make informed decisions about their health. The site offers articles on care giving and tools for tracking personal health information. It also guides patients on how to evaluate health information, from sunscreen advice to healthy sleep guidelines.
Another online patient resource, Patients Like Me, allows patients to not only track their symptoms, treatment and progress but also to identify fellow patients with similar conditions. By comparing progress, patients can apply other patients’ experiences to their own treatment. They can also provide a support network. The website aggregates data from the community – noting how many patients have reported specific symptoms and what portion of those are seeking treatment. And the website’s blog serves as a platform for patients to share their personal health stories.
As cooler temperatures usher in the season of vigorous hand washing and influenza vaccines, patients can attend to their health, and better prepare themselves for physician visits, with these and other online health resources.