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19 Nov 2014
Is easy access to medical info making us healthier?
How do we use the internet for health information?
Diagnosis (self diagnose) 60% of us adults have looked online for health information in the past year, 35%
have used web to try to figure out what medical condition they or another may have (online diagnose)
Accuracy? Among online diagnosers: having a list of symptoms causes people to think that they have a
symptom even if it has nothing to do with what could potentially be wrong with you (power of suggestion is
strong, can lead to misdiagnosis)
41% confirmed (at least partially) by professional
18% disconfirmed by professional
35% did not seek professional opinion
What we don’t know
How many would have sought help anyways?
Using the web in place of doctors due to medical websites: concern of medical professionals
Information in easier to obtain
People are using it either in place of a doctor OR using it because they wouldn’t have gone to see a doctor
in the first place
In what direction are the misdiagnoses?
Virtual Medicine = Google “talk with a doctor”
Google’s service involves live doctors who are working at a computer based on your search history putting
live medical advice in a virtual setting
Social support
Longer survival rate and rebound with strong support system
Help support groups online who might be going through the same thing as you
“traditional support”
information support in form of health reviews, for some reason people haven’t sought out peer reviews of
health services (relative to other sites)
Other issues as health information technology spreads
Digital divide (age, income, race)
Chronic illness and online presence – least likely to have access (elderly, lower end of economic spectrum)
– could use it the most
What is lost with an overreliance on technology?
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