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Unexpected Channels of Patient Misinformation


Patient in training
Unexpected Channels of Patient Misinformation

As a medical student on the wards, physicians often recounted stories of horrifying acts of paternalism from the days of their training. Though paternalism is far from abolished, the progress we have made as a profession has become a source of some pride. On the wards, autonomy has become exalted as a sacred right and invoking paternalism can end most debates. Though autonomy is a complicated and frequently debated concept, most agree that the cultural shift is a step in the right direction. And though perhaps we should be proud of our steps towards protecting the way patients receive information in clinic, we should be more aware of other sources of patient information as well.

Of course, it may not come as a surprise that a lot of the medical information available to patients is less than accurate. With the Internet, ubiquitous misinformation about anything should be expected. However, when we think about the sources of that misinformation we often think about random websites found during quick Google searches, Wikipedia, sensationalized media coverage, and pharmaceutical advertisements (the later will be discussed further below). A few recent studies are bringing attention to more surprising culprits: Hospitals and Academic Institutions...

Read more at the link above.
I thought it was a bit different for our patient population, where governments, even physicians themselves (drs at large) are a source of bias.
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Senior Member
Very interesting article.

Sometimes academic institutions will release information without the researchers knowing about it until after the fact. It then gets picked up by the press who just copy word for word the original release.

A good book about pharmaceutical companies is Ben Goldacre's Bad Pharma.

There was a court ruling this week that gives pharmaceutical companies in several states more leeway with the information given to doctors.

I'd no idea the fines against the pharmaceutical companies for has been such a large source of revenue for the FDA.

A court ruling several years ago overturned a conviction of a pharmaceutical rep. promoting off label use of medications.

The court ruled that disseminating off-label information is permissible, so long as the material is truthful and is not misleading


It should be interesting to see how this is interpreted.



Senior Member
Sth Australia
A few recent studies are bringing attention to more surprising culprits: Hospitals and Academic Institutions...
That's happening in my states public hospitals as far as orthostatic intollerence issues go.

My local hospital just does a ONE MINUTE STANDING TEST if one is in the ER after a collapse they suspect is a dysautonomia or OI. Then patients are told "you are fine, you don't have any orthostatic intollerence" if something like POTS or NMH didnt show up after a minute. Shockening this is the standard test for OI issues Ive come across at the hospital. How many patients are getting told their dysautonomia collapses are some kind of psychological issue due to this?