Just ask "Dr. Google “- More and more sick people are looking for help on the Internet

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The majority are satisfied with the results of their own disease research on the Internet

More and more people who have symptoms of illness or are looking for health information are doing their own research online. A current German study now comes to the conclusion that more than half of the patients are satisfied with the knowledge found. The researchers were able to demonstrate a variety of reasons why patients “Dr. Google "ask. It is often about preparing a doctor's appointment, comparing therapies or exchanging ideas with others. In addition to the sober facts about diseases, those affected also seek comfort and distraction.

Many Internet users search for “Dr. Google “apparently what the family doctor does not give them. In addition to professional advice, those affected also have other needs. The results of the study are based on extensive interviews carried out on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation and supplemented by a representative survey by the surveying institute Kantar Emnid. The results show that the majority of users are satisfied with the answers found on the Internet. The study was also able to show how patients use the Internet for health research and what possible consequences this may have for the relationship between doctor and patient.

There is great satisfaction in practice "Dr. Google "

Even if the motivation of the search may be different, there is strong agreement in satisfaction, because according to the study results 52 percent of users are always satisfied with the information found and another 44 percent are still partially satisfied. Only two percent of those seeking information stated that they were rarely satisfied. The category "always unsatisfied" even went empty with zero percent.

What are users looking for on the net?

The interviews commissioned by Bertelsmann Foundation revealed that patients frequently review medical recommendations and diagnoses. A lot of research is also being done on alternative treatments. Those affected also look for like-minded people with whom they can exchange ideas and who promise emotional support. So "Dr. Google “in addition to hard facts, a feeling of security, reassurance and distraction.

The Internet is a valued guide

"Contrary to popular belief, the Internet is a valued guide. Patients find what they are looking for, ”reports Brigitte Mohn from the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board about the study results. "Dr. Google “is easy to contact, accessible anytime, anywhere, has unlimited time and offers expert knowledge for laypeople. There would also be long-range portals where seekers can find information of solid to very good quality. This emerges from a test created by the magazine Ökotest in 2017.

How big is the risk to encounter dubious providers?

"In order to protect patients from targeted false information, it is necessary to act consistently against it in the sense of a market watchman function," demands Mohn. So far there have been few concepts and responsibilities for this. The development of promising strategies is therefore a task that must be tackled urgently. Trust in self-researched information from the Internet is currently controversial, as there is a risk of misinformation and dubious websites.

Doctors disagree about colleague internet

According to the results of the survey, around 60 percent of doctors responded to the information researched by the patient. 40 percent referred to good online information sources, but only a fifth of the doctors would encourage their patients to inform themselves. 14 percent consider their own information gathering to be pointless and advise against it. "Patients should speak openly about information they have found themselves," advises Marion Grote-Westrick, health expert at the Bertelsmann Stiftung. According to Grote-Westrick, doctors and therapists should be able to recommend reliable websites or apps. At the moment, about 30 percent of the patients would keep their self-researched information online from their doctor.

What needs to be improved?

The experts at the Bertelsmann Stiftung explain approaches on how to better use health information online for good treatment results. The experts recommend that everyone involved in the health system should recognize the variety of health information provided by the Internet. Electronic patient records could in future be used on the Internet to provide health information for a patient. The experts also advise doctors to encourage their patients to inform themselves online, and in the best case, doctors should know and recommend good sources of information. In this way, visits to the practice and hospital stays could be specifically prepared or followed up. The experts advise the patient to always speak openly to the doctor about their own research results. (vb)

Author and source information

Video: Health: 4 Ways to Google Your Symptoms Safely u0026 Effectively (June 2022).