Despite terrifying diagnosis’s coming up when we type a couple of symptoms into Google, new research has revealed that one in five trust these more so than their doctor.
Accordign to the study, more than half of those who use a search engine to research information about their symptoms end up feeling anxious about their potential illness.
42% of the people taking part admitted they are more likely to type their symptoms into Google before considering visiting the doctor, and 27% rely entirely on Google for a diagnosis.
Those respondents who stated they used Google, either to determine whether or not they needed the doctor or in place of going to see their GP, were asked why they tended to do this. Provided with a list of possible responses and told to select all that applied, the top 5 results were as follows:
1. Quicker than waiting for an appointment – 46%
2. Not sure if symptoms warranted a visit to the doctor – 39%
3. Don’t have the time to visit the doctor – 38%
4. Think a doctor could downplay my illness – 21%
5. Wider scope of knowledge / a doctor can only know so much – 18%
Ally Taft, Senior Associate for Medical Accident Group, who conducted the research, said the following: “Whilst doctors have been known to get a diagnosis wrong in the past, they’re far more trustworthy and accurate than a Google search. You could have symptoms that are present in a minor illness, yet by typing them into Google it’s easy to self-diagnose yourself with something much more serious that what you really have.
“We’d always recommend that if you think you have an illness, you put your trust back into your doctor and go to see them. Whilst doctors do make the occasional mistake, you always have the option of a second opinion if you so wish. Anyone can put information on the internet, accurate or not, and because it’s on the internet you’re likely to believe it; forgetting that the internet is full of incorrect information.”
According to the poll, out of the respondents who chose to self-diagnose themselves with the help of Google before going to the doctor, less than half, 42%, had self-diagnosed themselves correctly, with the remaining 58% having over exaggerated their illness.
54% of the respondents who had previously used Google to self-diagnose themselves admitted that the results had ended up making them feel anxious about their potential illness.