fergusonreport.com #8, jan 2002
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Key Concepts in Online Health:
From Patients to End-Users

Some of my physician friends still tremble in their boots when patients bring in printouts from the Internet. If they refuse to read them, their patients may take offense. But if they attempt to review and discuss them, they may precipitate long, inconclusive discussions. And since many e-patients bring in information which their physicians know nothing about, such discussions can sometimes be embarrassing. As a result, some physicians have gone so far as to warn their patients, "Whatever you do, don't go on the Internet."  [ ... more]

"Expert Driver" Interview
Gabe Lewis, MD: "God Bless My CML Support Group"

A friend I've known for many years-I'll call him Dr. Gabe Lewis here, to protect his privacy-recently called to tell me that he'd just been diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Gabe is a Harvard-trained physician in his early 50s. Two months earlier, he and I had been at a medical meeting together and he'd heard me speak about the value of online support communities for patients with life-threatening illnesses. So in the course of our conversation, I urged him to visit, and to consider joining, an online support community for his disease.  [ ... more]

Consumer Guidelines:
DocTom's Top Tips for Online Health Searching

On a typical day, more than 5 million Americans go online looking for health information and advice. Our surveys at the Pew Internet & American Life Project show that more Internet users have sought medical information on the Web than have used it for shopping, stock quotes, or sports scores. Here are a few pieces of advice I often share with lay audiences in my lectures and workshops on online health.  [ ... more]

Distinguished Achievement Awards:
kponline.org & John Lester

In this issue, the Kaiser-Permanente Online Health Team Producers receive the Distinguished Achievement Award for kponline.org. John Lester is the Information Systems Director for the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and receives the Distinguished Achievement Award as the creator of the online support mega-community Braintalk.org.  [ ... more]

Necessary Reading:
Studying Those the Study Us: The Collected Writings of Diana Forsythe

I first met Diana Forsythe at the 1992 annual meeting of the American Medical Informatics Association. She was one of the few people I'd met who shared my interests in Information Technology's potential to empower patients. Diana told me about a recent study she'd done in which the physicians caring for migraine patients had little idea of their patients' chief concerns and thus did a woefully inadequate job of dealing with their information needs. A group of her concerned colleagues, worried that her remarkable articles and talks might be lost, banded together and convinced Stanford University Press to publish a volume containing her collected works. The book, long in preparation, has been recently published.  [ ... more]

The Robert Wood Johnson Online Health Project:
What Kinds of Online Health Research are Really Needed?

A new generation of e-patients is emerging. As these online health pioneers travel through the self-help neighborhoods of cyberspace, they are finding-and are creating-unexpectedly rich networks of health-related resources: information, people, professionals, groups, and software applications. With the help of these new online resources, e-patients are taking over the management of more and more of their own medical care. They are, in essence, creating a new, patient-centered healthcare system that is now operating side-by-side with our traditional provider-centered system. To help healthcare professionals and policymakers understand and come to terms with these changes, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has asked me to help them develop a listing of top research priorities in the realm of online consumer health.  [ ... more]

doctom's FAQ:
Web Rings, yoursurgery.com, "Politically Correct" Language

Answers to your most recently asked questions of Doc Tom about web rings, yoursurgery.com, and being politically correct. Answers inside!  [ ... more]

News & Gossip:
RWJF Grant, Please Visit Our New Weblog at doctom.com

We've recently received a new grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help define key areas for online health research. We've also recently launched our new Weblog at doctom.com.  [ ... more]

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Copyright © 1999-2002 Tom Ferguson, M.D. The Ferguson Report is a free e-mail newsletter published at unpredictable intervals for the friends and associates of Tom Ferguson. ISSN 1520-5487 Editorial address: P.O. Box 50540, Austin TX 78763. Editorial e-mail: doctom@doctom.com.