Is there anyone who still thinks this isn’t true? Patients come into the office every day with their smartphones in hand. They show me their Fitbit steps and the calories in their myfitnesspal. They keep their vital signs on an Apple Watch.
Years ago, I took pride in making sure that my patients had copies of the labs I ordered. I used to say, “These are your labs, you should own them.” But now, I never get a chance. The moment I say something like, “Do you want a copy?” they say, “Thanks doc, but I’ve already got them on mychart.”
The moment I suggest a new drug or treatment, the patient jumps on Google and pulls up some review or a group discussion. If the patient gets any twinge of a reaction, they look up the adverse drug effects and tell me they are having a known side effect of the drug.
As a physician, I have two choices in response to this. I could decry the loss of my authority and the degradation of my professional experience. But I am rolling with it instead. I actually think it’s a breath of fresh air. The patients are taking responsibility for their healthcare and isn’t that something we should all be happy about?