The dangers of being diagnosed online

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Health experts are warning against the ‘age of Dr Google’ where patients use the internet to seek medical advice instead of seeing a GP in person. This potentially dangerous trend is actually causing problems rather than solving them.

Looking to the internet for medical advice

People choose to look to the internet for medical advice because it is easier, quicker and often cheaper than seeing a doctor in person. However, accurate diagnosis can only come from a medical professional, one who can examine you in person.

The internet can lead to self-medication which has potentially dangerous side effects. For example, taking prescription drugs without a prescription could interfere with other medication that you are already taking and ultimately make it void.

Even worse, self medicating can cause other problems ranging from minor allergies to kidney failure. Therefore, it is important to only take medication that is advised for you by your doctor.

Be wary of online doctors

There are certain apps and websites that allow you to see a doctor over the internet. While these doctors will in fact be registered medical professionals, they do not know the full medical history of the patient. This could lead to diagnosis and prescriptions that could make the patient worse. GPs have direct access to all medical history and therefore are not faced with this problem.

Online doctors are there purely for profit, charging patients for consultations and promising them no waiting times from the comfort of their own home. Although in theory this process would be fantastic, the reality is that the quality of care is just not the same. Nine online services have already been deemed as unsafe by the UK Care Quality commission this year.

The only time online medical doctors can be helpful is in the case of emergencies. They can help advise those in desperate situations before the emergency services arrive.

Although the concept of online doctors and online medical diagnosis seems to be extremely quick, easy and affordable, the reality is that nothing can truly replace seeing a doctor in person.