Those Online Medical Symptom-Checkers are Only Right 34% of the Time
Just go to a doctor.
You would think I would've learned my lesson by now, but nope! I am a chronic self-diagnoser. The thing is, no matter how much medical research I do on WebMD and all those other similar sites, I have never once been right. Seriously, I have diagnosed myself with different forms of skin cancer, diabetes, glaucoma, thyroid problems... the list goes on and on, and yet I have none of these things. Clearly I am not a doctor.
A new study by Harvard asked over 230 actual doctors to diagnose different medical conditions based on 45 brief descriptions. The descriptions included symptoms and medical history from a mix of simple, medium, and complicated conditions, but there were no physical examinations or tests. The doctors were able to successfully figure out the condition on the first try 72% of the time, while these websites were only correct 34% of the time. So, to everybody out there who thinks these websites are smarter than their doctor, you're probably wrong. A doctor in New York City by the name of Keri Peterson told CBS News, "Of my patients, about 40 percent now consult the internet to diagnose their symptoms. I would say their accuracy with diagnosis is lower than what this study finds, and that they tend to gravitate toward the worst diagnosis, the most serious one, and it creates a lot of unnecessary alarm and fear." Well, at least I'm not the only one!
Have you ever correctly diagnosed yourself using the internet? Share your story in the comments!
[Via CBS News]