More than a year ago, we launched our new Web site and began to place our entire editorial content (and then some) online. We have received some nice compliments—and a few barbs—from readers about our Web content, and there have been some other interesting ramifications of launching the site that we probably should have expected, but didn’t.
Numerous plastic surgery Web sites are directed toward consumers, but PSP’s isn’t one of them. However, the Web being what it is, past and potential plastic surgery patients occasionally find us and e-mail us to ask our advice about procedures they have had or are contemplating having.
Of course, neither I nor anyone on the PSP staff is in a position to give medical advice. Even if I were a physician, I wouldn’t give specific advice without examining him or her and obtaining a medical history. In cases like these, I usually forward the message to one of PSP’s Editorial Advisory Board members for guidance on a response to the individual. I may also direct the correspondent to several of the professional association and consumer sites. Regardless of how it happens, though, the primary objective is to get the person to a physician for a firsthand consultation or examination.
It stands to reason that if people are accessing our site for medical information, they are also going to all sorts of other places. In the highly competitive world of plastic surgery and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures, an enormous amount of information is available on the Web, and there is no foolproof way to determine whether it is “good” or “bad.”
It’s not only prospective patients who have difficulty ascertaining the validity of information on the Web—you as a practitioner may not necessarily be able to evaluate the correctness of what you read on the Web either. If only the entire Internet were peer-reviewed!
PSP isn’t peer-reviewed, but we do make every effort to ensure that our information is factual and our opinions are authoritative. Beyond that, we take pains to help you with your practice’s Web presence. If you search for, say, “Internet” in our online archives, you will find fresh articles on Web-site improvement, online referrals, lead tracking, and a host of other tools for exploiting the Information Superhighway.
We are rapidly approaching the time when if a business doesn’t succeed on the Web, it won’t succeed at all. We are literally all in this together, and we might as well help each other out. And get ready for whatever comes along to replace the Internet.
Michael J. Block