This week, we had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Linda Girgis. Linda is a family physician who treats patients in South River, New Jersey and its surrounding communities.
“Many patients Google their health symptoms, and I tend to find them looking at the worst-case scenarios and they worry needlessly” says Dr. Girgis.
She believes googling health symptoms can be a positive thing. She generally loves when patients have researched their health and bring her articles they find online. However, she is finding more and more patients are being deceived by misinformation or exaggerations found on Google.
Dr Girgis finds patients who Google live on two polarizing ends. They either Google their symptoms and fall into a false security that nothing is wrong – which lends them into delayed diagnoses and treatments when there is an issue. Or, they research on Google and “convince themselves that they have cancer, and no amount of testing could convince them otherwise”. Most often, unnecessary tests are conducted due to trying to convince the patient that they are healthy and fine.
In general, Dr. Girgis thinks Doctor Google can be a good idea – “BUT, patients need to be educated” she says. Patients sometimes believe the treatments and remedies they read online, this can be very dangerous or ineffective.
It is important to know which sites are the best to use; otherwise you are reading a bunch of useless and incorrect information. She recommends Maya Clinic, Cleveland Clinic or the CDC.
“Dr. Google should never replace a real doctor” according to Dr. Girgis.
Follow Dr. Girgis on Twitter for more healthcare advise and recommendations @LindaGirgis,MD
‘Don’t let the web, get to your head’
Stop Dr Google.