Dr.Doctor Vs. Dr.Google
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15 Jun 2021
In times of medical emergencies and ailments, it has become common for people to "google" their symptoms in order to diagnose their medical condition. Although it is easy to do a google search than to look for a medical professional to have us hear out, it is definitely not the best way to find what exactly is troubling our body. This is because Google search results work on algorithms and what we see is a result of random search algorithms rather than patient-specific or disease/condition-specific queries. Although it's good to be informed about any medical condition or symptoms that one is facing, googling it up is not a great option to diagnose a condition without having it overlooked physically or virtually by a doctor.
Reports suggest that usage of Google has resulted in the misdiagnosis of conditions in several patients in developed nations like the USA. This is concerning because it points at a possibility of a higher number of people in developing countries like India relying on the internet which is an inexpensive source of healthcare information. It is even more daunting to know that in times of pandemic, a lot of people are googling away their symptoms and taking their own medications without even undergoing teleconsultation with a doctor. Research suggests that even online professional symptom checkers have less accuracy and fail as compensation for the decades-old practice of evaluation of the patient's disease- history by a healthcare professional. The Internet has also several blogs that prescribe medication to patients which are not specifically customized to the patient, yet concluded on the basis of data obtained from a handful of patients with different risk groups. Therefore it is imperative that we use the right kind of phrases to acquire information about the disease through google rather than make conclusions on the basis of poorly typed words for google search, before consulting a physician. It is important to remember that doctors are educationally qualified to provide us healthcare services while the web is not.
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