16 March 2011

Quality Issues in Websites For Diabetes

A study about the unreliable internet as a source for information about diabetes has surfaced. And a doctor has blogged about it. While he loves the study, he says that patients will continue to ignore him and believe what they read on the internet.

If, and I say if, he was taking a positive attitude about the internet and his recommendations, more of his patients would listen to him. Rather than denouncing the internet, he should take the time to find some of the excellent sites for his patients and recommend they read them. This may be difficult for him as he seems to fail in understanding the dynamics of his patients. It certainly is not the internet as he makes use of it with some success.

Where I do agree with this doctor is the unreliable sites selling “snake oils” and “cures” which we know have only short-term benefits if even then, There are many such sites and when they are called into question, they just change their name and internet service provider and are back in business. I wish there was a way to regulate them, but that is not likely to happen. So the best we can do is ignore them and let people know when they ask about this or that site, how wrong that site is.

I would also agree with the doctor that there are a lot of very misinformed sites and sites putting out very poor messages. These can do almost as much damage as the “snake oil” sites.

Then there are some sites that do not follow the American Diabetes Association's guide and are varying in the recommendations to work for HbA1c's below 7.0 or the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommendation of 6.5 for A1c. Often these sites encourage people with diabetes to work toward a goal of 5.0 or lower. They also tend to encourage more frequent testing of blood glucose levels which the doctors discourage and the medical insurance industry will not reimburse for. I even take this tack and am doing this myself because it has helped in my control. I know why and the reasons behind what I am doing and not blindly following some ideas. I have adjusted for my age and how my body reacts. This is what people need to understand.

This encouragement of more testing is done for the purpose of aiding the patients to understand how foods and other conditions affect their own body to help them develop healthier eating habits based on their own body chemistry. This can be an excellent tool for people to overcome the initial fear of what they can eat and to settle into a variety of foods generally more healthy than they have been eating.

There are many excellent sites on the internet about diabetes, but everyone needs to be aware of the charlatans. Read about the study here to get more information.

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