People who check up health information on the internet may seldom trust a diagnosis made by their doctor, a study has showed.
The study showed that although there are many advantages of having easily accessible medical information available on the internet, it may not be accurate and may mislead the patients.
“The internet is a powerful information tool, but it is limited by its inability to reason and think,” said lead author Ruth Milanaik, associate professor at the Hofstra University, New York.
Simply entering a collection of symptoms in a search engine may not reflect the actual medical situation at hand.
These computer-generated diagnoses may as well mislead patients. It may also cause them to question their doctors’ medical abilities thereby delaying treatment, the researchers noted.
Thus, the “internet-driven interpretation of symptoms can compromise trust between a doctor and patient”, Milanaik added.
However, people who have doubts should absolutely seek a second opinion and should not be afraid to discuss the result of internet information with the physician, the researchers said.
The study will be presented at the Moscone West Convention Centre in San Francisco.
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