Columbus, OH,
17:38 PM

Columbus CEO: Using The Internet To Research Medical Conditions

The Good, The Bad, The Scary

The internet has changed the how we live our lives. And one of those huge changes is the amount of information a person can get when it comes to their health.

In some ways that could be a great thing, but in others, it can create more confusion.

"Because the average age of onset for MS is 30, many patients are people who have grown up with an iPad in their hands,” OhioHealth System Medical Chief, Immunology, Dr. Aaron Boster told Columbus CEO. “These are millennials who are extremely comfortable with and savvy about the internet and social media.”

Dr. Boster says that it's encouraging when he sees patients who are looking for as much information as they can, to be engaged in the care and plan to attack their disease. He says there is some worry about where they are getting information.

“You don’t need to be a highly trained neuroimmunologist with multiple years of education to write something for the internet,”  Boster told Columbus CEO.

He suggests to patients to come to him, or a care team member to talk about fact vs. fiction.

“It takes about two years for a patient to be comfortable in their own skin with their disease. They need to develop filters to evaluate what they read online. Until they do, their care team is that filter," Boster told Columbus CEO.

 Boster believes there are so many good uses for the internet when it comes to dealing with a disease like MS. In many cases, it can be a place for those with the disease to connect with others. There are ways to seek out support groups and research where some of the biggest advancements are coming from.

At the end of the day, Dr. Boster advises patients to open a dialogue with the person you trust the most in their care. Ask them what sites are worth looking at, and which ones to stay away from.

Everything you read on the internet isn't true, and when it comes to dealing with a medical condition, that is certainly the case.

If done right, being on the internet and researching can show a doctor just how much you want to team up to beat the disease.

“I see a patient who is engaged, who wants to be educated and involved in their care," Boster told Columbus CEO.

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