Google Says You’re Sick. Now What?
Google results giving you anxiety? Talk to a real doctor from First Opinion for reassurance 24/7.
If you’re like 80% of Americans who go online, you’ve probably Googled a health concern at least once in the last year. According to Google, one of every 20 searches are conducted to obtain health-related information or help with self-diagnosis.
While it may feel good to be proactive and potentially treat yourself with an over-the-counter remedy, it’s still important to check with a doctor, too (especially if Dr. Google diagnosed you with something extreme or serious, or if you’re having particularly concerning symptoms). Here are a few reasons why it may be better to talk to a live doctor, rather than diagnose or treat yourself:
- There is no guarantee information is accurate. In a review of 1,300 websites with health-related information, only 43.5% of them contained recommendations in line with medical governing bodies, 28.1% contained inaccurate information, and 28.4% of the websites contained medically irrelevant e.g., product placement (Scientific American).
- Proper diagnosis is hard. If diagnosing medical problems was easy, we’d all be seeing Dr. Google for our care. However, teasing out the subtle differences in diagnoses is exactly what your doctor went to 8+ years of school for, before they even started their specialized training. Overall, 18% of self-diagnosing adults who saw doctors said the medical professional or clinician did not agree with what they thought or had a different opinion about their condition (Pew Research).
- Taking action on poor information can lead to complications. A study of women found that 50% diagnosed themselves online and bought a treatment without checking with a doctor if it was the correct product. One in four ended up buying the the wrong medication and 10% suffered unpleasant side effects as a result (Balance Activ). Another study found that online symptom checkers only correctly diagnosed non-emergency ailments correctly 58% of the time.
- Not taking action when the situation requires it can be equally as harmful. Delayed diagnoses of urgent or emergent medical conditions accounts for many medically complex or severe cases that ultimately end up in hospitals and emergency rooms around the country.
Fortunately, Googling or waiting to see your doctor in person isn’t the only option. First Opinion can help!
A First Opinion doctor is a real physician – not an algorithm ranked site – who will listen to your symptoms, walk you through potential diagnoses, and make sure you’re getting the appropriate care. For $39, a doctor in your state* can even order lab tests to confirm the diagnosis or send a prescription to your pharmacy to get your back to health faster.
Talk to a First Opinion doctor in your state today!
* First Opinion doctors available in AZ, CA, DC, FL, GA,IL, MA, MD, MI, NY, NC, OH, PA, UT, VA, WA, and WI