Web Surgery: Buyer beware!

Page 34 of the August 14 edition of Newseek included an article about the brave new world of live surgery on the web at OR-Live.com.  According to the article, the site was originally intended for doctors to review techniques by watching their peers perform surgeries.  However, the site has been attracting more and more patients who wish to learn about procedures and the doctors who may potentially perform those procedures. 

What a great way to gain insights and information and “learning nuggets” on a range of surgical techniques and to preview the on-the-job performance of surgeons.  This initiative will not only increase business opportunities for the surgeons and hospitals but also allow patients to better ascertain the range of issues involved with various surgical techniques.  Suddenly the position and technical power of the surgeon is open to review, reflection and scrutiny.  On the other hand, the live surgical sessions remain somewhat “staged” as they are sponsored by medical-device companies.

So, the old adage “Buyer beware!” takes on a whole new meaning.  We can only hope that a better informed patient will be a happier (and healthier) consumer because of their pre-surgery learning experiences.  Who knows, perhaps “Hip Replacement Surgery” online will vie for ratings with “Days of Our Lives”.   Can online surgery also be considered edutainment?     

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