The rise of ‘Dr. Google’: The risks of self-diagnosis and searching symptoms online

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Those consulting Dr. Google should be aware of the potential risks and confirm information found online with a health-care provider. Photo: Pexels


(Taleen Lara Ashekian/ The Conversation) — Virtual health care was adopted more widely during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people accessing health-care providers remotely. However, easy and convenient access to technology means some people may choose to bypass health care and consult Dr. Google directly, with online self-diagnosis.

Here is a common scenario: picture someone sitting at home, when suddenly their head starts pounding, their eyes start to itch and their heart rate rises. They reach for their phone or laptop to quickly Google what can possibly be wrong.

It’s possible that the search results could offer accurate answers about the cause of the person’s symptoms. Or the search might erroneously suggest they’re well on their way to an early death. (…)

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