Have you ever wondered is Google ever a good doctor? A recent study found that around 89% of us Google our medical symptoms before even considering professional treatment, making ‘Dr. Google’ perhaps the most-used medical resource in the world, and posing various questions about what that means. After all, the risk of misdiagnosis here is rife, and most of us end up stressed about serious medical conditions even after Googling something as simple as a headache.
However, with doctors themselves commonly using platforms like Google and YouTube, and with many even listening to patient self-diagnosis as a result of Google research, Google might not be the medical nightmare we once believed it to be. Instead, ensuring that Google is the doctor you need often comes back to the way that you use this resource, with the ‘best’ path of action typically making way for crucial considerations like the following.
Always check your resources
These days, anybody can set up a website claiming nearly anything health-related, often to encourage you into buying some miracle medical cure for a healthy lifestyle that will inevitably be unapproved. That’s why doctors recommend always checking that your Google resources are overseen and regulated by trusted medical boards or schools. Sites like MedicinePlus or Medical News Today are especially worth sticking with, while both the CDC and the FDA have online platforms. While this doesn’t guarantee the ‘right’ diagnosis from Googling alone, it does at least help you to become more aware of your health while steering clear of skewed health narratives or potentially dangerous products bought off the back of those.
Discuss things with your doctor
No one recommends using Google as a replacement for medical intervention, and that won’t change anytime soon. Instead, recommendations lean towards using Google as a first resource and bringing those findings directly to your doctor. This is proving increasingly useful for faster diagnosis. It’s also providing countless patients with more confidence to fight for the right diagnosis, and seek the help of a personal injury attorney if they suspect a doctor has misdiagnosed symptoms or failed to pursue certain obvious testing routes, etc. Still, a medical opinion from a trained professional is always crucial regardless of Google diagnosis, meaning that you should book an appointment before you even consider going down the Dr. Google route.
Know when to stop
Google is such a wealth of information that you could spend hours reading up about every mole, ache, and weight fluctuation. Unfortunately, with Google listing its most trusted resources on its first page, the further you delve, the less likely you are to find anything of value. Plus, the more potential conditions you cram into your head, the less likely it is that your research here will do any good. Instead, stick to those trusted resources, making sure to visit no more than four or five regulated sites. Then, put the computer away, and let your doctor do the rest of the worrying.
Dr. Google has been at the center of much controversy in recent years. Make sure you’re using it in only the right ways by keeping these pointers in mind at all times.