Inner Circle Health Network

Paging Dr. Google

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I call this video Paging Doctor Google because that's often what doctors will say to you when you ask a question about your health: “Did you consult Doctor Google?”

These are the sorts of conversations, by the way, that I have in my new Undoctored book (Undoctored — Why Health Care Has Failed You And How You Can Become Smarter Than Your Doctor).

So, you pose a question to your doctor, and he dismisses it. He makes fun of it. He gives an off-hand response. He reverts back to the paternalistic role of doctor/patient: “I'm the Doctor. You're the patient. Just do what I tell you to do. I know better. I'm the one who went to medical school; you didn't.”, right?

Those days are over. What the doctor is failing to realize is that you have access to the world's health information. That study that was read by your neurologist, gynecologist, gastroenterologist — you can read also. Perhaps you don't have the depth of understanding, because of your lack of background — maybe you're an engineer, or a schoolteacher or a business person — but you can still gather a lot of information by reading a lot of the same information.

And there's lots of credible sources of information, also that you can read, that analyze/assess/interpret a lot of these data for you, and then discuss it. You have access to an astounding, an impressive amount of information and discussions online, that your doctor often isn't even aware of. He may read some of the advertisements from the drug industry, once a while may even read some of the scientific literature. If you read even some of the scientific literature, and the discussions that emerge from them, you'll actually know a lot.

Don't let the doctor make fun of what you know. You also have access to collaborative tools. Just reading information is very helpful, but collaborating with other people at varying levels of expertise, knowledge, and experience, can really contribute to your understanding, particularly as dozens, hundreds, and thousands of people join the discussion. It might be in social media of various sorts. It might be in discussion forums. There's many other forums where people discuss ideas relevant to health. Out of that kind of collaborative discussion emerge answers and solutions. These solutions are becoming incrementally better and better all the time.

We know that when we draw from the wisdom of crowds, hundreds or thousands of people, who all focus on solving a single question, in this case in health; terrific answers, wonderful answers, can emerge. Many times those answers are superior to the answers offered by presumed experts, that is, single individuals, who have a lot of knowledge, but don't know it all. We bring in varied experiences collaboratively, don't we? We can bring in the experiences of a scientist, an engineer, a business person, a mother, a father, a grandparent, a veteran. We bring in all kinds of knowledge and experience. That adds dimensions that no one person, like a doctor, can ever hope to provide. You harness the power of the wisdom of crowds, and the doctor doesn't even understand it.

You also live in an age in which we can measure and track a growing number of health measures. Once of my favorites is an old-fashioned one, which is blood sugar. We think of blood sugar measurement as a tool for diabetics to track their blood sugar, to adjust their insulin medication. But the doctor didn't tell you that the same glucose meter, used to track blood sugars for diabetics, can also be used to accelerate weight loss, dramatically. It can also be used by Type 2 diabetics to become non-diabetic. The majority of Type 2 diabetics, if they're shown how to use that glucose meter properly, can become non-diabetic in weeks or months, but the doctor doesn't even know that.

Don't let that comment about: did you consult Doctor Google turn you off. Take it as a compliment. The doctor doesn't quite understand, but you know, that you have access to information tools, those collaborative tools, measuring/tracking tools, that your doctor doesn't even understand. That makes you incredibly powerful in taking control of your own health. This is why I called this approach Undoctored.