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Tinnitus patients and the internet: impact on physician-patient relationship

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Abstract

Introduction and rationale

The internet has become a trustable and increasingly available source for medical information. When patients explore the internet, their attitude toward their selected physician and his medical decisions becomes distorted and biased by the medical information they get from the web. This study was designed to address the effect of medical data available on the web on tinnitus patients and their expectations for treatment.

Design

A total of 106 patients who had tinnitus, for variable periods and due to different causes, participated in the current study. At the end of the counseling session, half of the patients (53) were randomly selected and were advised to try Google search engine, using these keywords in Arabic language (tinnitus treatment fx1 fx2 fx3). The other half of the patients were not advised to use the internet. Each patient who came back after 2 weeks answered a questionnaire in Arabic that was designed to outline the patients’ choice among available treatment options.

Conclusion

Use of the internet among Egyptian tinnitus patients is a complimentary rather than a basic source of medical information. Its impact on the physician-patient relationship could be both positive and negative. However, it did not hamper the physicians’ credibility and/or reliability.

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Correspondence to M. W. Mustafa MD.

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None declared.

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Mustafa, M.W., Badawy, B.S. Tinnitus patients and the internet: impact on physician-patient relationship. Egypt J Otolaryngol 30, 351–356 (2014). https://doi.org/10.4103/1012-5574.144974

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.4103/1012-5574.144974

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