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Medichecks Chief Medical Adviser, discusses using the web to diagnose your health problems
"Don’t Google your symptoms" is pretty futile advice in the age of the internet. It's the first thing the vast majority of us do when they have a health worry.
It’s a trend exacerbated by the fact that about 30% of us find it difficult to get a prompt GP appointment, as research by the NHS financial regulator, Monitor, revealed earlier this year. But is all this unfiltered health knowledge at our fingertips a good or a bad thing?
"Contrary to popular opinion, these days doctors are big fans of patients Googling health problems before they come to see us."
"It usually means they're better informed about what may be troubling them, saving valuable time in their 10-minute appointment slot," says NHS GP Dr Helen Webberley, who also advises health testing website Medichecks.com.
"As GPs we also have to look after such a broad range of medical conditions ourselves, we can't possibly keep up-to-date with all the latest research on each and every one, so Googling is great for keeping us well-informed too."
The key for patients, of course, is knowing where to look.