The Decentralization Of Healthcare In The Age of the Internet: How People Are Taking Control Of Their Health

For years, there has been a push for healthcare recipients to take charge of their care and to act more like consumers. Today, that has never been truer, and many consumers are educating themselves using the wealth of information available on the internet. They are going online to

  • Choose which doctors to see
  • Find what conditions may be causing their symptoms
  • Cope with long term conditions
  • Search for which prescription drugs do what
  • Understand what different lab tests mean

With health care prices exploding, it pays to do a little research before seeking professional help. According to surveys, visits to the pharmacy or doctor’s office are commonly supplemented with online research. In some cases, the doctor may even reference an online search. 68 percent of patients do go online to research their symptoms because they want to be able to intelligently discuss their health care situation with their doctor. This allows them to get the most out of their visit.

Prior to taking medications, 62 percent of consumers study the possible side effects by doing an internet search. Another 61 percent do this because it helps them figure out if there are any alternative treatments to what their doctor prescribed.

Readily Available Information Is Improving Patient Attitudes

59 percent of the people surveyed said that being able to do a quick internet search for health care information has really empowered them in making healthcare decisions. Many respondents to the survey mentioned a change in their basic attitudes toward healthcare. They felt like they had access to second and third opinions at their fingertips.

53 percent of the participants in the survey also mentioned going online for preventative care tips. To improve their family’s overall wellness and health, users are turning to the web for positive lifestyle adjustments.

Peer-to-Peer Healthcare

The growing e-patient movement is helping people take control of their healthcare while simultaneously keeping their costs down. There are now apps available for smartphones that allow sufferers of a particular condition to connect wherever they are to an online community. In these communities, users can share the type of treatment they are receiving, how the treatment is work, and how they are feeling.

Research shows that those who connect with other patients make fewer visits to the doctor, demand better treatment when they do go, and they tend to need fewer tests. This may be because doctors are motivated to make more money and may order unnecessary tests or try to get the patient into the office for unneeded checkups. By taking control of their health, consumers are reducing these unneeded expenses.

Healthcare Online

No One Cares about Your Health as much as You Do

Doctors and pharmacists are incredibly busy. It is easy for them to accidently skip over important information that could help them to diagnose your condition or prescribe a suitable treatment. Today’s healthcare tools allow patients to go online to find out what their doctors may have missed or to prepare for a visit knowing what they need to mention as far as symptoms go.

A lot of times, when lab tests are done, the patient simply gets a read out with long confusing names for the tests that were performed and numbers lacking any frame of reference. The doctor may call to explain the results, but this is usually incomplete and may be inaccurate. Websites like are providing ways for motivated individuals to learn more about their diagnostic tests and to also monitor their test results.

The internet age is an exciting time in health care. Patients around the world are being empowered to take responsibility for their health and treatment. The sharing of information will ensure consumers are getting the appropriate treatments and avoiding spending extra on superfluous tests and doctor visits. And, as the technologies continue to develop, the tools available are keeping pace.

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