The reality is that Dr Google is very easy and cost effective to use. For some members of our community unable to afford medical help, Dr Google might be all they have.
Whenever a client says they have been on Dr Google for answers, I think it is great. We all go to Dr Google for information. We all sometimes get wrong information and good information. The key to using Dr Google is to consider “how” to use a search engine to collect information, and to know when you have enough information. Here are some tips:
- Who is the Author? Consider who the author is, and what they have to gain from the providing the information. Some information is gold, other is more like joining a health cult or has been sponsored by the pharmaceutical company. Make a decision about the source of each piece of info and consider its merit. Try searching .edu or .gov websites for information produced by universities and governments.
- Can you find lots of sources? Finding one article is good, collecting a range of articles with same or opposing opinions is better. Don’t get caught up in the politics of each article. Glean the ideas of what the article is saying, maintain doubt as to whether it is helpful and search for more. After a period of compiling info you will see a pattern. You will see opposing views and have a well rounded view on the issue.
If the issue is an emergency of course it is important to seek medical help straight away.
Many looking at Dr Google will be awaiting medical tests or assessments and want information on the possible outcomes.
If you are not happy with your doctor’s information and if you find it doesn’t make sense in context of what you have read on Dr Google, then raise this with your doctor. In this day and age I like it when my clients bring in articles that challenged them to seek more advice. I believe as health practitioners that we have a role to help our clients share what they know, and work with them to enhance their knowledge and their ability to seek knowledge.