The Ferguson Report
Number 5 · July, 1999
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Key Concepts:
Can Useful and Reliable Online Health Resources be Produced by 'Medically Unqualified' Persons?

This is a question I'm often asked when I present a talk or workshop. I try to explain that it's not that simple. While you may be considerably less likely to find inaccurate, misleading, or self-serving information on most professional sites, this is by no means an ironclad quality guarantee. And when it comes to addressing the principal concerns of the patient in a helpful and useful way, professional sites often compare unfavorably to patient-produced sites. Some of the very best health sites are produced by just such 'medically unqualified' persons.  [ ... more]

Necessary Reading:
The Control Revolution
How the Internet is Putting Individuals in Charge and Changing the World We Know
by Andrew L. Shapiro

Five years ago, when I first began spending lots of time online, cyberspace felt like a chaotic and confusing place. I was often horrified by the clumsy or overblown design, disgraceful spelling, terrible writing, muddy thinking, and unspeakable grammar I often found online. I hated the unruly, disorganized junk I had to wade through to find what I wanted. There was no quality control, no standards, no ratings, no editing, no guides, no help. Then, one day as I sat at my computer, I had an insight that changed my whole way of thinking about the Net.  [ ... more]

Upcoming Meetings:
Intel Internet Health Day II
New York, October 12, 1999
Internet Healthcare Coalition (IHC)
New York, October 13, 1999
eHealthcare World
New York, November 3-5, 1999

The Ferguson Report's Outstanding Achievement Awards:
John Grohol & Richard Rockefeller

This issue's Achievement Awards go to two outstanding individuals: John Grohol, Psy.D., author, co-founder of Mental Health Net, and Webmaster of Psych Central, and Richard Rockefeller, M.D., Founder and President of the Health Commons Institute.  [ ... more]

Your Contributions to Our Next Issue

We invite your input for future issues. We're especially interested in your suggestions for Sites 2B Seen, Recommended Reading, Industry News & Gossip, and your questions for Doctom's FAQ. We also welcome your criticisms, comments, love notes, death threats, wild ideas, unfounded rumors, rants, raves, and press releases.  [ ... more]

Sites 2B Seen:
Sixteen Great Mental Health Sites for Patients- John Grohol's "Best of the Web" Award

Many thanks to Dr. John Grohol of Psych Central for permission to reprint his reviews below. For links to the sites, and for John's complete listings, see his personal Website, Psych Central.  [ ... more]

Doctom's FAQ:
Seven Easy Steps to Online Patient Services

by Tom Ferguson, M.D.

Q. I'm the CEO of a three-hospital group in the Midwest. I attended one of your recent workshops and was struck by your suggestions about the benefits of communicating with our patients by e-mail. If we wanted to do so, what are some of the first steps we might take? And how do I go about convincing our physicians that exchanging e-mail with patients is a good thing?  [ ... more]

Found on the Net:
News Stories & Articles on Online Health

USA Today July 14, 1999,
"How the Internet is Changing Medicine"
Medical Tribune, July 22, 1999
"[A Doc's] Guide To Becoming Web Savvy"

 [ ... more]

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© Copyright 1999 Tom Ferguson, M.D. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without prior written permission is prohibited. ISSN 1520-5487. For active players in the online health revolution.