In recent years, Australians have been ‘googling’ their health issues/symptoms, rather than visiting a general practitioner immediately. This prevalent social problem has led to Australians becoming ‘cyberchondriacs’ due to misdiagnosing themselves via information found on Google.
Cyberchondria is a healthcare issue. Simon Usborne describes it as individuals who “present their symptoms to “Dr Google”, and latch on to the worst “diagnosis” thrown back at them”. This leads to individuals experiencing heightened levels of anxiety due to misdiagnosis.
How many Australians are self diagnosing online?
According to a survey taken by Bupa, Almost half of Australian self-diagnose online; Australians aged 18-34 are most likely to seek medical information online; with 46% of females most likely to diagnose themselves online versus 39% of males.
Are Australians making sure they take advice from reputable sources?
NO. 57% of Australians do not check the source of health information found online. This is a dangerous statistic – Australians are taking medical advice from non-credible and non-professional sites posing to be within the medical industry or possess
Why are Australians ‘Googling’ their health symptoms?
- In Google, we trust
We are accustomed to having a vast array of information at our fingertips at all times of the day. Constantly connected to our iPhones, tablets and laptops – our first instinct is to ‘google it’ every time an issue arises.
- But I don’t have time…
Australians believe they are time poor due to a constant need for a healthy work/life balance. They seek medical information online as it’s faster than making a doctors appointment and waiting in a doctor’s surgery – plus, mobile technologies give us answers immediately!
- It’s a bit embarrassing
Google removes any embarrassment of seeking medical advice from a physician. It also allows users to be anonymous via online forums while talking to others with similar health issues. The anonymous factor of Google enables the ‘patient’ to feel at ease and comfortable with DR Google.
But beware…’Don’t let the web get to your head!’
Stop Dr Google.
Infographic Source: http://blog.bupa.com.au/self-diagnosis-infographic/