Panicked patients are paying for unnecessary medical tests as more than half of Australians use Google to search their symptoms online
- 54 per cent of Australians use Google to research questions, survey revealed
- Two in three Australians use the search engine to self diagnose their symptoms
- Doctors said people are misdiagnosing and not receiving treatment they need
An increasing number of patients are paying for unnecessary medical tests after using Google to research their symptoms.
More than half of Australians use a search engine to find the answers to medical queries at least once a week, according to a MedicalDirector survey.
Two in three people use Google to self-diagnose and 72 per cent research their concerns rather than visiting a medical expert.
It has been revealed 54 per cent of Australians use Google to look up medical questions at least once a week
Doctors have said people are misdiagnosing themselves and aren’t receiving the treatment they need.
‘I’ve seen people successfully convince themselves that a lump in their armpit was a sebaceous cyst when it was breast cancer,’ emergency physician Dr Stephen Parnis told News Corp.
Most searched health questions
1. What is the keto diet?
2. What is ALS disease?
3. What is endometriosis?
4. How long does weed stay in your urine?
5. How long does the flu last?
6. How long is the flu contagious?
7. When does implantation bleeding occur?
8. Why am I always tired?
9. What does heartburn feel like?
10. What causes high blood pressure?
More than 50 per cent of people searched Google for information on cold and flu medicines, 18 per cent on mental health and 6 per cent on sexual health.
Dr Panis said more people are visiting the emergency department as they determine their symptoms are more serious then they actually are.
However, he said searching online could be beneficial in helping patients decide on questions they want to ask doctors.
Dr Charlotte Middleton, GP and Chief Clinical Adviser at MedicalDirector said: ‘The convenience of looking up health information on Google can easily turn from a habit to a full-blown addiction.’
RACGP spokesman Dr Cameron Loy said patients became anxious after researching their symptoms.
Dr Loy said a patient who had a headache was convinced it was a brain tumour and demanded a brain scan.
Doctors have said people are misdiagnosing themselves and aren’t receiving the treatment they need (file image)