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Life in the Web: What Page Are You On? (part I)

By Laurie Gelb, February 15, 2011

A physician turns to a nurse between patients and snorts contemptuously. "Dr. Google convinced my last patient that she should stop taking her beta blocker because she might get dizzy. Why do these people believe everything on the Net and nothing I tell them?"

"Maybe because the Net isn't you," the nurse half-jokes.

She brushes past him to place some educational brochures (which include a list of URLs for patients to visit) into the waiting room rack, as he double-checks a digital database for drug interactions  while going into the sample closet for a waiting patient. 

When he returns to the exam room with a sample pack, the patient is tapping her iPhone. She says, "Should I be taking that since there's a precaution for people my age?"

As the physician fumes inwardly, he explains, "Your kidney and liver function are normal, and you're in excellent health overall. So I think on balance, this is the best choice." 

She arches a skeptical eyebrow, then opens an e-mail window to remind herself to ask the same question of her brother, a podiatrist in another state.

Meanwhile, an MCO executive is wincing at dismal performance metrics for her network's latest disease management initiative. The letters and brochures looked so pretty and inspiring in the shipping boxes, but failed to produce results. Follow-up calls found that they barely generated awareness, let alone action. 

She makes a note to consider a new vendor for next quarter's program, with a reduced budget. Her thoughts wander to text messaging and e-mails, which might be more effective. She recalls that an agency contact said something last week about a Twitter feed and puts that on the next meeting's agenda.

Shaking her head at the futility of it all, she reaches for the latest cost trend reports and considers another espresso.

--to be continued---

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