Using the Web or an App Instead of Seeing a Doctor? Caution Is Advised

Illustration by Tobias Gutmann

Excerpt from this article:

A few years ago, doctors from the Mayo Clinic tested the wisdom of online health advice. Their conclusion: It’s risky. According to their study, going online for health advice is more likely to result in getting no advice or incomplete advice than the right advice.

The doctors assessed the quality of advice on the top sites returned from Google, Yahoo and Bing for searches on common health complaints — like “chest pain” or “headache.”

No site they examined listed all the necessary symptoms so that a user could obtain an accurate triage — whether to rush to the emergency room, call the doctor or treat the condition at home. A third of the sites did not list any of the key symptoms. Among sites that checked any critical symptoms, four in 10 provided no triage advice.

Advertisements