20 June 2011
In today’s highly technological society, we have more access to information and resources than we have at any point in our history. This information can be a valuable tool, particularly when it comes to healthcare. For example, if we’re experiencing symptoms at a particular time, rather than heading directly to the doctor’s office, we can search online and find other individuals with similar symptoms and determine what they might mean. This culture of “needing to know” doesn’t eliminate the need to go to the doctor, but it creates a better informed, more connected community.
For example, an MSN Health article entitled “Is Social Networking Changing the Face of Medicine?” discusses the backlash incurred when new regulations proposed that women didn’t need to begin having mammograms until age fifty, as opposed to the previous guideline of forty. A number of women, who felt that beginning mammograms at forty may have saved their lives, took to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to express their outrage. In the end, the guidelines set forth by the American Cancer Society remained unchanged.
In the situation described above, it can be argued that public opinion and the use of technology only helped, but there’s a fine line between helpful and incorrect. As with any situation concerning the internet, it’s just as easy to broadcast incorrect information as it is to relay the facts. But there’s no denying that information can be a valuable tool if used wisely.