In a new study being published in the July, 2010 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, physicians are warning us about self diagnosis of our medical problems and the commercial sites we may visit. Many of us use Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines to try and diagnose a medical problem we may have. Unfortunately, some of the recommended sites are commercial sites that are more interested in promoting their products than providing valid medical information.
According to one article it states that:
In terms of content, Dr. Karunakar says, nonprofit sites scored the highest, then academic sites (including medical journal sites), and then certain non-sales-oriented commercial sites (such as WebMD and eMedicine). The least accurate information sources were newspaper articles and personal web sites. Commercial sites with a financial interest in the diagnosis, such as those sponsored by companies selling a drug or treatment device, were very common but frequently incomplete.
“About 20 percent of the sites that turned up in the top ten results were sponsored sites,” Dr. Karunakar says. “These site owners are motivated to promote their product, so the information found there may be biased. We also found that these sites rarely mentioned the risks or complications associated with treatment as they are trying to represent their product in the best possible light.”
One should be aware of sites that promote medical products and instead should look to sites such as WebMD and eMedicine for reliable information. With that being said, is self diagnosis using online sources a valid replacement for seeing a doctor?
What do you think?