Editorials

New directions in information for patients

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.6996.4 (Published 01 July 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:4
  1. Philip Meredith,
  2. Mark Emberton,
  3. Carol Wood
  1. Head Research fellow Manager Patient Satisfaction Audit Service, Surgical Audit Unit, Royal College of Surgeons of England, London WC2A 3PN

    More attention should be given to finding out what works

    Providing information for patients is currently a growth industry. Traditionally, health professionals have created their own fact sheets for local use, with consumer organisations, self help groups, and commercial publishers plugging the gaps. But now commercial companies are competing to relieve providers of services of their responsibilities by selling computer disks containing information about hundreds of conditions and procedures. This format allows purchasers to customise this information for their patients.1

    Commercially produced videos on diseases and treatments that permit viewers to experience passively what they may encounter are also becoming available. Interactive video disks take this medium one stage further by inviting patients themselves to exert some control over the flow of information. Whether patients will be willing to make decisions about treatment on the basis of interaction with a machine rather than a doctor is not yet known. Given the pace of development in information technology, virtual reality systems may become available within the …

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