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Internet has further to go in healthcare

The NHS Direct website is a popular resource in the UK. While in the US recent research indicates that patients trust their doctors but frequently use the Internet.

As access in the UK increases, more laymen will use the Internet to inform themselves about their condition, drugs, treatments. That shift in knowledge will fundamentally alter the relationship between clinician and patient.

But there is more to come. On-line consultations and routine monitoring will become normal, reducing the need for sick patients to wait and share infections in the GP's waiting room. It will also ease the GP's workload, making home visits less necessary.

Recent research indicates that about half of people in the UK have Internet access. Increased access may have a more profound effect on care than the whole of Connecting for Health's National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

I wish you a peaceful Christmas time and a successful New Year!

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