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Searching for symptoms online helps patients make good diagnoses and does not increase anxiety, studies show.




By investigating health problems online with consulting “Dr. Google”, patients are better at diagnosing their illness and will not increase their anxiety. A new study from Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital shows.

Dr. David Levine, a corresponding author of the study and a physician at Brigham and Women’s, said that all doctors talk about patients with little finger pain that they thought they had cancer. I have.

But Levine said it was certainly not standard, and he loves to google their symptoms before his patients arrive at his office, that’s what they’re doing. I think it shows that you are investing in.

Levine and his colleagues show modest improvements to reach accurate diagnosis after study participants examine symptoms online, reporting health concerns associated with increased cyber cartilage and internet use. I found that I didn’t.

Google’s health symptoms have often been considered no-no because they can cause false information online and scare patients, but Levine shows that the findings aren’t entirely true. Said that.

In a survey of 5,000 participants, each person read a short case explaining a series of symptoms and imagined that someone close to them was experiencing the problem. Then, before and after examining the symptoms online, the diagnosis was made based on the information provided.

Cases ranged from mild to severe, with participants surveying online for an average of about 12 minutes. Participants also triaged cases and recorded anxiety levels, from options such as improving the problem naturally to calling 911.

People were good at diagnosing cases correctly after paging Google, usually using search engine information and health-focused sites such as WebMD and Healthline, Levine said.

Levine said the discovery that people were a little better at diagnosis was really interesting and something that had never been shown before.

He also said that women were much better at diagnosis than men, older participants were better than younger participants, and those with poor health and chronic illness were also better.

As quoted in the survey, in a particular year in the United States, nearly two-thirds of adults use the Internet to search for health information, and about one-third of adults use the Internet, especially for self-diagnosis. I am.

Levine said that if Internet search alone would be good at diagnosing people, what would happen if they really provided the tools to people, implying the use of artificial intelligence for diagnosis.

Other studies have also examined their role in the online search for health conditions. According to a 2017 survey published at the National Institutes of Health, survey participants typically met with a doctor after searching the Internet for health issues. The majority of doctors explained the positive effects of online search behavior on counseling.

The new use of the Internet to search for health information leads to a better mutual understanding of symptoms and diagnosis, the authors write.

In a recent survey by Harmony Healthcare IT, a data management firm with over 2,000 millennials, 69% reported Google for health advice instead of going to a doctor on the most popular sites such as WebMD, news articles, and YouTube.

Levine said it’s a lot better than Google, which doesn’t have a medical degree, but it’s always best to talk to your doctor about your health concerns.

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