RE: [PITAC] Interim Report to President Clinton on IT Research.

I Find Karma (
Thu, 13 Aug 1998 10:29:58 -0700

Joebar wrote:
> Who's talking about self-medication? Or perhaps I should ask, what do
> you consider self-medication?

I guess I was considering self-medication any situation where the
patient makes the decision of what to do.

But then again, that's almost always the case, right?

So then what is the role of the doctor? It's to understand as best as
possible what's going on and then explain it to the patient and the
patient's family so they can make informed decisions.

I have to believe that in seeing health situations regularly -- and being
detached from the emotional ties of any given patient -- doctors have
extra qualifications that will not be obsoleted by the fact that all
manner of medical information is on the Web. The doctor will still be
the expert, and there's something to be said for that.

That's what bothered me about the health care vision of the PITAC report:
> Patients are empowered in making decisions about their own care through
> new models of interaction with their physicians and ever-increasing
> access to biomedical information via digital medical libraries and the
> Internet.

It makes it sound like patients are going to use the medical libraries
and the Internet to self-diagnose more and more in the future.

I don't believe self-diagnosis is a necessarily good thing, because in
times of flailing health, 1) we are too intimate with the situation to
behave rationally in all situations, and 2) we are more willing to take
liberties with symptoms and causes in an effort to find a "fit" and move
on to the "cure."

Presumably, experts are better suited to the task of diagnosis, and have
better intuition due to experience. Also presumably, their expertise
translates well into suggestions for medication as well.

Is this not true?


We are approaching the point were we are incapable of reasonable
discourse on Internet content. Refuse to boot up for inspection means
you've got something to hide. Defend civil liberties of the accused
means you condone guilty acts. Question the nature of the censorious
policies in the first place means you are filthy, and as unhealthy as
the wily-eyed porn devourer.
-- Kenneth Neil Cukier