There’s a big debate about Dr. Google, whether it is a foe or a friend, I can’t decide for anyone. But when a patient has visited Dr. Google before visiting me, I definitely know it by their questions.
Let’s see what are the advantages
1. Dr. Google can have many benefits, it can help patients know and express what their symptoms really are, which can otherwise be much more difficult.
2. Searching symptomology can also be a great way to get educated on a variety of health issues. It increases awareness, people will know they are ill and might stop ignoring their health issues.
3. Easier to approach because just by sitting on your phone screen you will come to know almost everything about your illness.
4. For doctors - Dr. Google is used by everyone, some patients and articles even mention that it is used by Doctors themselves. I definitely use it sometimes. Google is the hub of most recent advances, so it gives us UPDATES regarding our fields.
Talking about disadvantages
1. Blindly following the internet can be the biggest disadvantage. People tend to forget that the doctor has obviously read the subject in more detail and that it’s wrong to judge him/her on the basis of the information you have got through internet.
2. Oftentimes, the information a patient finds is not even relevant to their specific situation. If you search for reasons of lethargy, cancer pops up on ur screen which is absolutely irrelevant if you are a healthy person.
3. Any symptom has so many causes, so which article to follow and which article to be ignored is never mentioned on the internet. Like just for an example, I asked Dr.google, how can I reduce pimples (acne) on my face? The first five answers I got were, wash your face, no exposure to sun, apply moisturiser, stay hydrated etc, all this is not wrong. But look from a doctor’s point of view, there are so many causes of pimples, your diet, use of medications, endocrine disorders like PCOS, pregnancy, Genetic factors, there are so many age groups, there are so many scenarios; treatment of acne differs in all of them.
So everyone needs to remember the following:-
1. Dr. Google is meant to aid them, but it’s not meant as a replacement for health care professional. The search results are intended as medical advice on internet should be considered for informational purposes only and you should always consult a healthcare professional if you have a medical concern.
2. Always remember, doctor sees the patient in totality, there are symptoms (what you see ) and there are signs (which only the doctor sees). Correct interpretation after thorough examination can be done by doctors only.
As a doctor, I think all of us should be patient and try to answer all the queries of the patients, their doubts and their anxieties. This is a modern era, people are more aware and that’s not bad. So Listen Listen Listen…Google is not our competition, its technology, it’s not a threat at all.
Dr. Google has the potential to be truly helpful or harmful—it’s all in how that information is utilised.