Is “Googling” bad for your health? If you’re trying collect medical information before an appointment, your doctor thinks so. According to a recent study we found in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, most physicians feel that when a patient self-diagnoses before a visit, it’s harder to get them the right treatment. Now, doctors don’t mind when patients use Internet health sites to educate themselves once they’ve been diagnosed, but what bugs them is when their clients beat them to the punch. So, here’s how to stay healthy and keep your doctor happy:
- Make sure the information’s up to date. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, just 2 percent of health sites display the latest findings. So, double-check and triple-check.
- Don’t bring in a 10 page print out and expect your doctor to read it. Your best bet is to prepare questions based on your findings, and ask them during your exam.
- It’s also important to stay open-minded - even if you’re positive of your own diagnosis. After all, your doctor didn’t go to med school for nothing.
- Don’t settle for a physician who won’t take time to discuss what you’ve found. Good health-care providers know two things: that talking through your research will put you at ease and that informed patients make their job easier.
Learn all you can after your doctor gives you a treatment plan, but don’t expect a computer to make you an MD. Remember, there’s a reason they say that “A doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient.”