Is Dr Google always right?

Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2020

Digitally savvy and short on time, more and more people are turning away from queues at health centres and relying on self-diagnosis apps and online searches. But how safe is it?

We all know there’s a vast amount of information online about every imaginable health concern, so it's perhaps no surprise that many of us turn to “Dr Google” in an attempt to self-diagnose.

But an over-reliance on internet resources has led to what is becoming known as “cyberchondria” meaning the unfounded escalation of concerns about common symptoms based on search results and online literature. Most doctors advise against relying on the internet as a standalone medical resource due to the vast amounts of unreliable information and the scope for confusion about contexts.

Dr Soren Carstens, Head of Clinical Operations at Bupa Global, says, "when looking at complex medical information online, particularly when you´re worried about something, you can end up just identifying with the sections you understand – which means the information you find may not even be relevant to your situation".

“Our research shows that around half of searches for illness online will lead to at least one cancer result. Even for illnesses as simple as constipation or a sore throat! Out of context, online research can be frightening and cause a lot of unnecessary concern. Never underestimate the role that a medical professional takes in helping you translate and apply that information. In healthcare, decisions are not black and white, and often require non-clinical factors to be taken into account.”

So, instead of using technology to self-diagnose, the advice is clear, harness the power of the apps to track and maintain overall health!

Top 10 Apps for overall health

Whether you want to lose weight, tone up, get healthy or just learn more about your eating, sleep and activity habits, there are tools to support you to maintaining a balanced lifestyle that might just keep you away from the doctor or Dr Google in the first place!






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