Everyone is a fan of Dr. Google these days. The genius is available instantly, at all hours of the day and gives answer for everything. Cherry on the cake is the convenience that even without stepping out of your house, you can get the health issue diagnosed.
Let’s look the real side of the picture now. Though Dr. Google is rich with information, you can’t consider it reliable every time. This is because most of the information you see is either generated by content mills or non-medical professionals who have nothing to do with accuracy, facts and quality. Surprised? Well, there’s so much more.
For everyone who Google their symptoms and get to know they are having cancer, heart risks or are even pregnant as per the search results, here are 7 ways diagnosing your problems online is a bad idea.
1. Google doesn’t know you: Yes, neither it can see you nor can hear your story. As a matter of fact, it can’t even touch you.
2. Internet breeds cyberchondria: Believe it or not, the more severe the problem, the more inaccurate is self-diagnosis. You may kill yourself over the thought that you have ovarian cancer (as told by search results) but the reality could be nothing more than a usual irritable bowel.
3. Internet increases risk of confirmation bias: This happens when a person looks for evidences to support a pre-conceived opinion instead of listening to information that might prove them wrong. For instance, a patient concluded suffering from ovarian cyst as told by Google; however, doctors conclude it is as colon cancer after a careful examination.
4. Your story matters more than your research: Providing genuine details and experience about the disorder is really important. When you noticed the changes, how long it has been, what complications your are facing, what ways have you already tried, etc. are crucial things to share with the health expert. You can’t expect all this from the so-called “Dr. Google”.
5. Don’t let the virtual doctor come in between you and your physician: It is possible for patients to pre-decide their treatment; however, their physician may disagree about it. In such situations, setting up an adversarial relationship and keeping Google out of the business is the best way out. You may be expert in your profession or may be a scholar throughout life; it’s your doctor who is experienced in this case. Trusting them and listening to their suggestions will benefit you only.
6. Don’t follow your favorite celeb’s cancer & chemotherapy interview religiously: Oh please! Celebrities are not medical experts and following their advice is simply acting like a fool. Just as you can’t take acting classes from them; you can’t take medical advice from them either. Stop comparing their symptoms & signs with yours and get yourself examined by the doctor.
7. Google is least concerned about your health: Yes, it might shock you but that’s the bitter truth. Internet can’t empathize with you, show you compassion, hold your hand, give you a shoulder to lean on, rejoice with you or feel sorry with you. It will only show results without thinking about you personally.
Wake up and see the reality. It’s not that you should discard internet out of your life and stop using it, it’s just that you need to use common sense too. If Google is really the doctor, why are those hospitals and medical degrees for?