Internet medicine: The next frontier

Patients making their own diagnosis to relieve pressure on Norway’s health care system:

Norwegians are ready to make their own diagnosis on the internet rather than sit in endless queues at the doctor’s surgery, claim BI researchers Tor W. Andreassen and Even J. Lanseng in a recent study.

Demand for health services is growing and leading to a sharp rise in health expenditure in Norway, as in the rest of the world. Our health service is itself not entirely healthy and it is struggling with tight budgets, low staffing levels and long queues.

One day, Professor Tor W. Andreassen sat in a never-ending queue at the doctor’s surgery with a coughing and sickly young child and had plenty of time to ponder.

The child was perhaps not desperately ill, but ill enough to go to the doctor’s to find out what was wrong.

“What if we could make the diagnosis with the aid of self-service technology?” he pondered and what would it take to make people really start to use a system for self-diagnosis.

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  • MedFriendly

    I don’t buy that this will work for one minute. I often have patients tell me they know they have a certian diagnosis when I know that they don’t. Not only that, but the areas hardest hit with long waiting lists are those where there are many poor people. Poor people are less educated and often don’t have computer access to begin with. The naswer is to solve our medical crisis and not make patients have to diagnose themselves.

    Dominic A. Carone, Ph.D.
    Founder and Webmaster of MedFriendly.com and The MedFriendly blog.

  • Rian

    This strikes me as being a phenomenally Bad Idea. What’s next, input your diagnosis into the box and a script is auto-sent to the pharmacy based on some EBM-type algorithm?

    Ack.

    There’re enough Internet hypochondriacs in the world. We don’t need to facilitate that sort of behavior any more. Why not just make everything short of a CV controlled substance available OTC? :rolleyes:

  • Dr. Samson Isberg

    Actually, this professor is a professor of Marketing, employed at a Business Academy.

    Some of the most spectacular advances within the field of medicine have been made by people without any medical licence at all – Madame Curie, Wilhelm Röntgen, Louis Pasteur etc.

    This, however, will not be one of them. It is clear to me that the learned Professor hasn’t grasped what patients seeing the doctor really wants. He obviously believes that they are all sick, injured or diseased, and that all they wish for is a cure.

    How deceived can a professor be when he steps out of his own limited field.

  • Mike

    Sounds great to me. And if the patient dies, the family can sue the computer. Awesome!

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