Sometimes, the medical information patients find on the internet or get from their family or friends is correct. But when it’s not, physicians need to practice a new skill set for correcting medical misinformation.
The key? Don’t get defensive or drawn into a debate with your patients. Instead, briefly state the facts and then move on with the rest of the visit. To support your facts, it may be helpful to pull up a review article on your computer from UpToDate or American Family Physician, and perhaps send them a link or PDF. Most patients will appreciate the information. Those who don’t are likely looking for a debate, which is beyond the scope of the visit.
Although correcting medical misinformation may feel like a frustrating waste of time, it is an important skill in today’s environment. Patients today are bombarded with medical information, and they don't have your training and experience, which allow you to separate the good information from the bad.
Read the full FPM article: “How to Handle Misinformation in the Age of Dr. Google.”
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