Tips for Using Online Symptom Checkers

Tips for Using Online Symptom Checkers

by Posted on: August 26, 2015Categories: LiveWell 24/7   

According to recent studies, at least one-third of Americans use some form of online symptom checker when they experience abnormal symptoms. Unfortunately, the average online symptom checker only provides an accurate diagnosis about half the time. With technology improving constantly, these types of databases can be a critical health promotion tool if they are used correctly.

One benefit of utilizing an online symptom checker like WebMD or DocResponse when you’re feeling under the weather is that they will streamline your results more than a random Google search will. These websites use advanced algorithms that are designed to provide multiple possible conditions associated with your interacting symptoms. These algorithms can also help you determine whether or not your symptoms indicate a potentially critical condition, which will help you weigh whether or not you need to seek immediate medical attention.

No matter what your online symptom checker tells you, an online source should never replace a physician’s diagnosis. Relying solely on a website for a medical diagnosis puts you at risk for unnecessary treatment or pricey medical bills. Instead, you should print off your online suggestions and bring them with you to your physician. Your doctor can use these possible diagnoses to guide his or her examination of your physical symptoms.

Advances in medical technology are developing every day, and these types of resources will undoubtedly continue to evolve. However, for the sake of your health, it is important to remember to use online symptom checkers as an initial inquiry, not a final diagnosis. Stay healthy and stay informed!

Sources: The Advisory Board Company, CBS NewsMedline Plus, The Atlantic, Notey


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