For a growing number of people, the first port of call for medical advice is Google, and the search engine has revealed that 1 in 20 searches are now health-related.
While in some respects this can ease the pressure off overworked GPs, self-diagnosis is a concerning trend, because not all information online is provided by medical professionals.
Google itself recognises this, and has undertaken many updates to it’s algorithm to favour trusted healthcare websites, but the problem is, anyone can build a website and share healthcare information – and Google is a search engine, not a doctor.
We’ve asked Clinical Lead at Treated.com, Dr Daniel Atkinson to review the top online articles for the most-googled health concerns in the UK. His results were somewhat concerning:
- More than a third (37%) of the articles reviewed had inaccurate information
- Only half (54%) signposted readers to visit a qualified doctor
Here’s the results in full:
If you don’t want to seek advice from NHS Direct or your local GP, the advice from medical professionals is, rather than search on Google, seek advice from a local pharmacist or use a qualified online medical service like Treated.com.
Your health is too serious to leave in the hands of a search engine.