online resources can start to provide support or facilitate recovery before, during, and after diagnosis.
Being sick is tough enough, without all of the paperwork, travel, medication side-effects, and worry. I read a recent Chicago Tribune article about friends at the hospital affecting the health of an ill patient.
In short, a study found that patients who underwent treatment with a friend by their side had better results. For some, the stress is immense. Another study stated that patients immediately forgot 40-80% of the medical information given by their HCP.
For others, it is a matter of empathy. Yet another study found that hospitalized patients who received visitors recovered faster than those left alone and that patients with a large support network report less pain and anxiety before surgery.
While nothing could replace a loving family member, it got me thinking about ways in which technology could help in the treatment and healing process. Are there ways to remember topics you want to discuss with your doctor, items to help you remember the details of your diagnosis, or prepare you for upcoming surgery?
Here are a few ideas I have, but I would love to hear yours as well. How can technology or online resources improve a patient’s treatment? Please leave your ideas and suggestions in the comments section below.
Here are a few ideas (let me know what you think):
- Some patients use WebMD or Wikipedia to research their symptoms and begin the diagnosis process. While these are incomplete and not entirely reliable resources, they can prepare a patient or alert them to the seriousness of their illness.
- After diagnosis, many patients find the support and empathy described in the Tribune article through online forums and message boards in online chronic disease communities. Patients with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (or ITP) flock to the Platelet Disorder Support Association’s forums to find and share information, advice, and stories of their own treatment or that of a loved one.
- Some website offer ways to contact doctors while in the comfort of your own home. ImmuneDisease.com, for instance, features an online primary immune disease panel, where visitors can ask questions of a doctor, pharma rep, insurance expert, and mom.
- CaringBridge.com and CarePages.com offer easy-to-use patient websites, facilitating patient and family communication while hospitalized. Many patients are able to share their story of recovery without the time and energy of hours on the phone. And their friends and family are able to leave supportive comments to help spurn their recovery.
These are just a few ideas of how online resources can start to provide support or facilitate recovery before, during, and after diagnosis. What are your ideas on this topic? Leave your comments below and thanks for reading!