INTERNET USE IN HEALTHCARE
It is estimated that over 110 million individuals rely on the Internet each year to research health-related information( The Pew Internet ). One of the most common health conditions researched on the Internet is back pain and one of the most common categories researched is the spine and spinal disorders. The American Academy of Spine Physicians (AASP) is preparing to meet this growing interest and demand.
The AASP is currently developing one of the largest online databases of educational information for patients and the public about the spine, spine disorders, spine-related products and spinecare.
The online world provides many of the same services that are available in the offline world. It simply offers more information and provides the services more efficiently. Accessing information takes less time and costs less on the Internet. The Internet provides access to a broad range of information on all topics, particularly healthcare. People bring to the Internet the curiosity, activities, and interests that preoccupied them before the World Wide Web existed. The Internet has also enabled new kinds of activities that no one ever dreamed of being able to do.
Internet users can quickly access renowned experts and national organizations such as the AASP by pressing a few keys. Individuals no longer have to rely on word of mouth referrals or local businesses for assistance.
The World Wide Web has placed a greater demand on all businesses to be better at what they do and how they educate. There is no better example of this than the healthcare field. Internet users can go to the AASP to look up their symptoms and diagnosis. A growing number of people are using the Internet to find a primary physician, specialist or subspecialists rather than going to the yellow pages. They use the Internet to research therapeutic options and make sure their physicians give them all of the options. Patients are accessing leading edge information on the Internet about diagnostic or therapeutic options that their attending physician may not be aware of as yet.