The increasing importance of the internet as a mean of searching for information related to health

Lucie Klůzová Kráčmarová, Peter Tavel

Abstract

The Internet plays an increasing role in human life and it may influence his behavior, feelings and the way how he perceives the world. Its impact is also increasing in the area of human health. Number of people searching for information related to physical or mental health increases every year. This contribution brings an overview of benefits and risks of using the internet in this area. Among benefits there is understanding of symptoms, diagnostics and cure; getting emotional support and sympathy from patients with similar experience; reduction of feeling of isolation; and gaining new skills and behaviors supporting health, and others. Among possible problems there is, for example, risk of making bad decisions about the treatment on the basis of misleading information, or stimulation of unhealthy behaviors. The internet may be beneficial for patients but its using also bears risks. Physicians, psychologists and other people working in helping professions should be aware of them and talk about them with their clients.

(Fulltext in Czech)

Keywords

Internet, health, illness, sharing, patients’ experiences

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