Growing Use of the Internet to Access Information about the Spine and Spinecare
The pursuit of healthcare information
takes place within an expanding network of online and offline sources.
The Internet will have an everâ€"increasing impact on spinecare. It
empowers patients and their families to learn more about spine disorders
and available care. Some time ago most patients relied on the opinion
of one physician and a few obtained a second opinion. Today the average
patient can go to the internet and access vast amounts of information
on their area of interest. In many cases they will obtain more information
about their specific disorder than was given to them by their attending
The informed patient is better prepared to discuss their situation with their attending specialist. The public is also turning to the internet to search for specialists and to learn more about them. To help meet these demands the American Academy of Spine Physicians (AASP) and International Spine Association (ISA) have partnered to develop the International Directory of Spinecare Specialists which provides helpful online search functions. The user can access both professional and facility profiles.
The patient who has access to relevent information on the internet will have a better understanding of their spine disorder, treatment alternatives, and the treatments available. They can also access statistical probabilities of success with different treatment approaches. More and more physicians and healthcare providers are directing their patients to reliable online sources. The American Academy of Spine Physicians (AASP) encourages its members to use available spinecare information script pads to direct their patients to an online database managed by the International Spine Association (ISA).
Many people use the internet as a tool to forward information and resources to family members and friends. This is made possible with social networking technology offered by various groups such as Twitter, Facebook, and My Space, just to mention a few. Pew Internet surveys have revealed that technology is not an end, but a means to accelerate the pace of discovery, widen social networks, and sharpen the questions someone might ask when they do get to talk to a health professional. Available social networking technology helps facilitate information networking and the internet is turning up the volume on â€œneed-to-knowâ€? information.
The Pew Internet and Life Project estimates that as many as fifty-two million American adults, or 55% of those with Internet access, have used the Web to get health or medical information. This number is likely much higher. Many of these people access the internet to acquire information on behalf of family and friends. Even those in good health will â€œsurf the webâ€? to obtain information to pass on to someone else who does not have the skills or technology to acquire the information online. There is a wealth of information online, and the use of the internet to access spinecare related information is not an exception.