I can see how this sort of online medical information (or in some cases medial misinformation) could be turning into a real obstacle for medical professionals. On one hand, increased access to information for patients can certainly be a good thing in that it gives people a general idea of what their symptoms might mean, and a way to effectively describe what they are going through to their doctors. However, on the other hand, there’s a reason why doctors go to medical school for years, have to be licensed, and are vetted in a wide range of other ways as well. Put simply, we are not all just as knowledgeable or capable as medical professionals just because we can read an article on WebMD or discuss our ailments with individuals who claim to be going through something similar on an online bulletin board. The real problems seems to me to occur when people 1) don’t take an adequate “grain of salt” with medical information they read online and 2) begin to believe not just that they are more knowledgeable than they were before they read up on their ailment, but that they are now as knowledgeable as their doctor is (or even more so!).
I agree with the lack of validity to diagnose an illness based on internet information. I was relieved after my first night sweat that I didn't have a tropical ingested worm/disease or some form of cancer! Only the change of life! Whew!
However, after diagnosis have been given, medical reports written pertaining to a specific illness...I have found the internet medical information regarding specific diagnoses to be very informative. And such information on the internet useful in putting into layman terms what the medical terminology is actually saying.....using the internet to "understand" the medical community/reports...so not all is bad in what is available...some very useful. It's all in how it's applied.