Internet makes everyone a doctor in Finland

Patients in Finland are becoming more confident at self-diagnosis and more demanding of medical practitioners as the internet is turning everyone into wannabe doctors. According to a dissertation that looks at the city of Tampere, over half of patients visiting a doctor now have a clear idea of what their illness is and how it should be treated.

Doctor Hanna Toiviainen, from the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), however, said people with undiagnosed ailments should not believe everything they read on the net.

“Four of out five people seeking medical information from the internet use common search engines, which may direct the user to commercial sites rather than to officially posted data,” she said in a report by YLE. Toivianen added that patients should be given advice by medical professionals on where to find reliable and independent information.

Pia Haki, deputy senior physician at the Espoolahden Health Centre, believes most patients are already doing a good job with their self assessment. “People are more active than before. Now they adopt an active role and are centre stage in their treatment as opposed to earlier passive ways,” she said.