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We were all there. I have a slight headache and a little nausea. Rough freckles, or thirsty than usual. Before considering a doctor’s surgery appointment, pick up the phone and enter the symptoms in Google. After a while, I was diagnosed. But is that right?

In 2019, Google Health boss David Feinberg told The Telegraph that about 7% of all Google searches (about 70,000 searches per minute) are related to health. Many patients, especially women, are doctors, as general practitioners tell them to stay away from people who have a cough or temperature.

But according to a new Harvard Health study, Dr. Google’s diagnosis isn’t as badly wrong as we think. In the Harvard Health study, 5,000 people were asked to read a case vignette about the symptoms of a sick person. A sick friend or loved one. Next, I had to make two diagnoses, one before and after Google searching for symptoms.

Google’s examination of symptoms did not completely eliminate false diagnoses, but the use of the Internet was associated with modest but significant improvements in diagnosis, the study authors wrote.

Perhaps just as important, this study did not show a significant increase in anxiety after Google symptoms.

But that doesn’t mean you should always rely on Dr. Google instead of your own GP. Needless to say, if you have any symptom of concern, see a doctor immediately. But with new research in mind, we talked to experts on how to find health advice online.

Make sure the information is up to date

Dr. Keith Grimes, director of AI clinical innovation at online GPservice Babylon, says it’s good to provide enough information to patients and Google is a great source of information. However, that information needs to be up-to-date, accurate, and evidence-based, and Google doesn’t provide a good way to solve this.

Most reputable health websites are updated frequently as new research reveals. The majority includes the publication date or the date the page was last modified. All NHS website pages have the date the page was last reviewed and the date the page will be reviewed next. Watch these days to make sure your information is up to date.

Try a dedicated symptomatology checker

According to Grimes, one of the biggest problems when searching for symptoms on Google is the search engine algorithm. It is designed to display the results that are most likely to be clicked, and does not necessarily fully understand the context of the question.

For this reason, symptomatology checkers are a better option for those who want to understand what can cause symptoms and whether they need to seek help, Grimes adds, quoting Babylon’s symptomatology checker. .. Incorporate the opinions of physicians with a special interest in emergency and primary care. This means that the information we retrieve is safe, accurate and up-to-date.

Other symptom checkers include patients, Mayo Clinic, and symptoms. The NHS also operates a symptom checker over 111 telephone lines.

Avoid non-expert websites

Pharmacy2U pharmacist Phil Day states that anyone can publish information online. Non-professional websites like Wikipedia cannot guarantee that they will provide reliable and accurate health information.

Similarly, health blogs and Instagram health accounts should be taken with just a little salt. There are all kinds of people who can claim that a vegan or sugar-free diet has cured or increased fertility in any way or illness, but in many cases these claims are based on actual evidence and supporters. There are unfavorable motives for sharing this information, such as increasing the number of followers that may be substantiated.

Therefore, you should keep all of these in mind when searching for a reputable website. Day continues. Find a source based in this country and see when the information was last updated. We recommend starting with the NHS website, which has links from within the page to other trusted sites. This is a great place to get started.

Find a support group using the internet

Google and search engines provide more than just information. They can also connect and support people in patient groups, Grimes adds.

For situations such as celiac disease that require management rather than direct intervention by a doctor, there are many websites where you can find community groups of other patients who may be able to provide advice and information. However, keep in mind that, like the non-expert websites listed above, people’s personal judgments are not always completely reliable.

Babylon’s Services provides access to a variety of human professionals (GPs, pharmacists, physiotherapists, therapists, etc.) and helps to bring the most important decisions: expert opinion. Grimes says. Also, consider using the NHS 111 service to double-check with your doctor the advice you find online.

Which website do I need to use to find health information?

NHS.uk The NHS official website is constantly updated, reliable, and packed with easy-to-read information about almost every condition you can imagine. It also tells you where to find resources and other advice, and frequently features articles that expose health rumors and fears.

Healthline.com A health news website with a wide range of advice, FAQs, and updates on the latest research. All of its edits have been confirmed, well-cited and frequently reviewed by a dedicated medical team.

Patient A major source of independent health advice in the United Kingdom. Like Healthline, it is constantly checked and reviewed by a team of healthcare professionals and often updated with the latest information.

NICE Evidence Search Operated by the National Health Technology Assessment Organization (NICE), this search tool helps you retrieve data from 800 trusted healthcare providers and search for symptoms using only trusted and trusted sources.

Mayo Clinic A non-profit medical institution in the United States, often at the forefront of health research and education. We employ 4,500 working doctors and attract patients from all over the world.

Read more: Why medical advice from the internet can be bad for your health

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