The number of patients – and even physicians – who are “symptom searching” online continues to increase.
It’s no surprise that patients are turning to “Dr. Google” to research symptoms for medical problems. The number of patients – and even physicians – who are “symptom searching” online continues to increase.
One study says that 59% of adults look for health information online, and 35% have attempted to diagnose a medical condition from information on the Web. A 2011 survey by Wolters Kluwer says that 53% of physicians feel patients knowing more about symptoms using the Internet is a positive, while 20% of physicians found the increased access leads to misinformation and wrong self-diagnosis. Some doctors even admit to turning to the Web when diagnosing a particularly challenging case. Up to 63% of physicians reported that online resources change their initial decisions about patient care.
Google released its list of the top symptom searches for 2013, compiled from searches from more than 70 countries. Noticeably missing are terms for heart attack, which was in the top 10 in 2012, and cancer symptoms-two of the nation’s top killers.
Google’s Most Searched Symptoms of 2013