DIY Health. Are we becoming our own doctors?

Health used to be an issue of the state where there was a focus on diseases and treatments. However, the concept of health has shifted from public to private as consumers are now the gatekeepers of their personal health information. The discourse of health schemes have shifted to an individual’s obligation to take charge of their own health in the form of prevention and lifestyle. (Leong 2011)

However, the abundance of medical information can be too much for a layman to understand, thereby turning to collective wisdom. It has also shifted from a private to a communal issue. (Leong 2011)

To facilitate this shift, new media acts as a source of information. People turn to search engines for answers to health problems. However, its accuracy is questionable.

Hui (2011) suggested that consumers often take the process of search engines filtering information for granted, limiting their search to the first 3 results. This suggests that consumers often regard the information from their search as accurate.

Conversely, Lewis(2006, 534) argued that users are ‘active and critical’ consumers of information online as they recognize the fact that anyone is able to put information out there.

Users should note that new media should not be regarded as a mean to an end. It should be seen as complementary to the services already provided by medical practitioners.

References

Hui, Andrew. 2011. “More Health = Better Health?” Insights From A Media Student’s Perspective, April 8, 2011. Accessed April 9 , 2011. http://mediapot.tumblr.com/post/4434348533/more-health-better-health

Leong, Susan. 2011. “KCB206 New Media: Internet, Self and Beyond: Week 6 lecture notes.”

Lewis, Tania. 2006. “Seeking health information on the internet: lifestyle choice or bad attack of cyberchondria?” In Media, Culture & Society, volume 28, issue 4: 521-539.

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  1. One has to be selective in picking-up information from sites dishing out medical tips. I’d rather go for trusted reputed sites like WebMd.

    Have a nice day!

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