Apparently, Googling Your Symptoms Isn't As Bad As Previously Thought
Be honest, how often do you use Google (or your search engine of choice) to look up medical symptoms? A lot, we're guessing? Well, we've got news for you. Turns out, Googling symptoms is not as harmful as previously thought.
According to a new study, all that Googling might lead to improvements in diagnosis. Researchers came up with the study after wanting to measure that association of searching for health symptoms with diagnosis, triage, and anxiety.
Participants were asked to review and diagnose a case study while rating their anxiety for the study. Though some made mistakes with the diagnosis, a total of 54 percent got the diagnosis right in the end.
"Searchers for the most part did not use poor sources of information such as chat forums or social media. This similarly refutes the idea that folks who search the internet are obtaining ‘bad advice’ from poor data sources," the study said.
Now, if only Google would stop pointing every single symptom to cancer.
"I have patients all the time, where the only reason they come into my office is because they Googled something and the Internet said they have cancer," said lead author and physician David Levine from the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.