No one can deny that the Internet has significantly changed, facilitated and improved the quality of our work, the availability of reading and entertainment materials, and our academic study.
The Internet is a fundamental tool for the medical community to share scientific papers, search for information, share bibliographies, connect directly with researchers on the other side of the world, etc. While advances have been made with the advent of this technology, it needs to however, be used with great professionalism when applied to various health problems.
As doctors, often different people – relatives, friends, even acquaintances we have seen from time to time – ask us for a complementary test so that we can make our diagnosis in isolation. “Could you read a lab I took on to check?” “I’m concerned because this study report says something I don’t understand: sodium levels are elevated.” “What does transaminase mean? Is it serious that it has this double value?” These are some of the many questions that people ask us without realizing that the medical profession is not simply reading a study or Googling its results to go to a diagnostic.
Accessing information does not mean being able to interpret and put it into context, it is not a white coat magic ability; The same would happen to a doctor who googles how to fly a plane and embarks on an adventure.
A supplementary examination is a medical examination designed to confirm a suspected diagnosis after interviewing the patient, taking a thorough medical history and supported by the physical examination. Laboratory tests without any previous evaluation, in addition to being taken out of context (or isolated comparison on the Internet), can not only trigger anxiety in patients and their relatives, but also have economic effects on health. – shall we say, to the institution – and to spend money on measures that are not necessary.
When a family member or friend asks us to examine a lab and we indicate that this should be discussed with the doctor who commissioned the study to allow for a full contextualization of the patient’s life, people believe often that we don’t want to give that after a clear diagnosis, however, we value their life and health, their medical work and everything that has to do with the good practice of our profession.
For example, would it be good professional practice to read an isolated abnormal laboratory value and diagnose a person that I have not checked, I did not request the additional examination, I do not know and I do not have the opportunity to check them in their health to accompany the situation?
On the other hand, the medical community recommends that people do not use tools they are not familiar with to diagnose themselves, interpret laboratory tests, or administer therapy.
When I ask ChatGPT how to cure asthma in children? The first thing he tells me is, “Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways and can affect children. It’s always important to see a doctor or child health specialist to get a proper diagnosis and a specific treatment plan for each individual case.” “. However, list a therapy plan after this sentence. Obviously, the problem isn’t the artificial intelligence chat or the question, but how we then use the answer.
In general, it would be like entrusting, for example, the heating repair in my house to an unqualified person, because I “googled” on the Internet how to do it, or asked ChatGPT how to fix the problem brakes of the car.
Let’s use responsibly the technological tools that have facilitated our work and give priority to the Health Act, in which the doctor, assisted by technology, remains at the center even today.