Dr. Google vs. You (The Real Doctor)

Dr. Google

You, like many practitioners, may be experiencing an increasing number of patients coming to see you who have already gone to Dr. Google and “found” their problem and think they know the solution.  This can be very frustrating and challenging to deal with.

This is the “do-it-yourself” phenomena that all generations partake of.  With the internet so close and handy to most people, the temptation is to go to their phone, tablet or computer looking for answers there before consulting the expert who already exists in their lives:  YOU.

The trick is, what to do when the patient or client feels they have the whole thing worked out and are asking for a certain treatment, but you do not agree with the diagnosis or the prognosis or the treatment?

Don’t Argue

The first and foremost part of the handling is not to argue with the person, however tempting it may be to do so.  This will just upset the patient or client because you are invalidating their “carefully researched” information.  You want to keep the conversation positive, acknowledge the person, educate them and build agreement with them on the necessity to do the right treatment.

Start With …

One of the best ways to handle this is to first of all find out all about the medical problem presenting itself to the patient.  At this point, the person may start to tell you about what they think the problem and the solution is.  So ask them the source of any solutions they have come across and tell them that you are impressed with their efforts to research what can be done about the problem.

Discuss with the patient or client the variety of misinformation that can be found on the internet as many sites allow people to put data up on them who aren’t even professionals … even if it’s not true.  Tell them, “We want to do what’s best for you, and based on my professional diagnosis, you need ….”

Usually this approach will handle the situation and you can then proceed to do what you have recommended (as you are the true expert).

Go to the Source

However, if this does handle the person and they are still insistent on their solution, perhaps you could say, “Why don’t we go to the site that you found and have a look at what it says.”  Usually, in doing this, you will win them over and you will find that the person did not fully understand what they were reading, and you can clear up the misunderstanding.

The result will most often be that you are all now on the same page and you can go ahead with the treatment you recommended.

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