Dr Google will see you now…

I recently read that one of the best ways to convince yourself that your symptoms are something that are going to kill you, is to look it up on Google.

The world is forever changing. Some would say for the better, some would argue otherwise. The internet is a double edged sword when it comes to health. While there is a lot of valuable and useful information on the internet, there is also equally a great deal of misinformation.

There is a trend which probably began in the infancy of the internet whereby people with a certain set of symptoms would ‘surf’ different websites and gather information on their symptoms. Essentially people began to self diagnose their health conditions. Armed with information, an appointment with a Dr was fast becoming not an opportunity to recount your symptoms and listen to an expert opinion –but an opportunity for you to recount your symptoms and tell the expert what you thought the problem was, and what investigations and tests you think you should have. It’s become an opportunity not to listen and learn from the expert, but to talk at, and to teach the expert. Everyone wants to be heard.

Dr's are now constantly bombarded with patients presenting with symptoms - and Google search engine results.

Dr’s are now constantly bombarded with patients presenting with symptoms – and Google search engine results.

With the explosion of the internet, faster download times; everyone is becoming their own expert on their own health. We have a world full of Dr Google’s.

Unfortunately, the internet doesn’t tell you everything. It’s one-way traffic. You jump on a website, gather information and convince yourself you know the answer. The internet cannot interact with you. It cannot see, touch, feel, or ask further relevant questions. The internet cannot call upon a vast pool of experience and filter relevant information and test results.

So while I understand that people may be genuinely interested in their symptoms, respect that having an expert to ask an opinion of, has stood the test of time throughout history, and will continue to do so- even in  today’s modern technological world.