Using Online Resources for Los Angeles Fertility Patients by Dr. Marc Kalan.
The complex and sometimes confusing nature of fertility treatment often generates the desire for patients to understand more about the reproductive process. Not surprisingly, patients often turn to Dr. Google to satiate their desire. While Google can provide excellent, reliable information, it can also lead to inaccurate, inappropriate or even untruthful information. The difficulty is distinguishing the difference.
One approach to this dilemma is to only use websites that are authored or recommended by respectable sources. For instance, the website for our practice ( www.center4fertility.com ) has an educational resources section complete with a glossary of terms ( http://vermesh.com/glossary.html) . All of the information has been vetted and written by our physicians. Additionally, websites from large organizations such as the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (www.ASRm.org ), the National Infertility Association (www.resolve.org ) and the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (www.SART.org ) tend to have reliable information.
A second approach is use professional medical search engines. www.pubmed.gov is the website of the U.S. national library of medicine. It contains over 21 million biomedical citations which represent the original research on which most medical decisions are based. One downside of a site like pubmed is the technical nature of the writing. Moreover, just because a citation is listed on Pubmed does not guarantee that it is valid. One must always apply a skeptical eye when reviewing experimental information.
Third, message boards and patient blogs provide an important service as far as a patients perspective. They provide honest and valuable information that can only be gained through the patient experience. It is important to remember however, that emotional and personal experiences shared on these sites may or may not apply to all patients. Each infertility case is unique as each patient is unique.
Ultimately, the internet is a valuable tool which empowers patients and potentially improves outcomes. As with any tool however, it must be used appropriately and its limits should be acknowledged. At the Center for Fertility and Gynecology in Los Angeles, we encourage our patients to gather as much information as they desire. Part of our job is then to go through the information with the patient and use what is valuable.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at any time on 818-881-9800.