Patients need to be their own advocates when it comes to their health. This is even more important now with the changes in our healthcare system.  The new systems can keep track of more information, but it often is difficult to access.  The lack of continuity of care presents its own problems. Patients are often seen by many physicians at different times and the global understanding of the patient is easily lost. Many patients have taken to using the internet as their source of medical information, and while I often encourage patients to use this as one source of information it is information without commentary.  No patient should make a decision about their care based on internet information. 

Patients need to get confirmation of any information from their physician.  These are my own thoughts, but recently some researchers have reviewed medical information on the internet and have found that in many cases the information is old or incorrect. One of the most glaring examples of this misinformation was found when looking for information about one particular pulmonary disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease I have written about before in one of these articles.  Nearly 40% of the websites gave incorrect information so seriously wrong that it was associated with a nine-fold increase of death and a five-fold increase in hospitalizations.  Most of the websites did not give accurate information on treatment risks, nor did they discuss meaningful outcomes or prognoses. Be proactive, but be careful.