Don’t you just love technology? Now you can get a wrong answer faster than ever!
You might think those fancy symptom-checker apps and websites are both convenient and reliable — especially the ones that have big, important-sounding names behind them, like WebMD and the Mayo Clinic.
You might even think the Mayo Clinic’s symptom checker is as good as or even better than a trip to your doctor’s office.
All I can say is, don’t fire your doctor yet — because the latest research shows he’s STILL a whole lot better than those online symptom-checkers.
Your flesh-and-blood doctor is more than twice as likely to get your diagnosis right when compared to the robots behind symptom-checking apps and website, according to the new study.
Harvard researchers cooked up 45 little “medical vignettes” — a medical history and symptoms, but no test results — and gave each one to at least 20 doctors, and fed each one into 23 different popular online symptom checkers, including WebMD and Mayo Clinic.
Doctors got it right on the first guess 72 percent of the time. When they were allowed to list three possible diagnoses, 84 percent nailed it.
Not so much. Those symptom-checkers are free, and it looks like you get what you pay for: Based on their first response, those programs are correct only 34 percent of the time.
Even when they were allowed to list three possibilities they were no better than a coin toss, getting the diagnosis right just 51 percent of the time.
More importantly, doctors got it right more often when it mattered most, as they were more than THREE TIMES better than the computers at spotting the warning signs of serious health problems.
These are the kinds of health problems where getting the right diagnosis — and the right treatment — can make a big difference in your life and your health.
Sometimes, fast, convenient, and free don’t cut it… so if you think something’s wrong and need help, make sure you do it right and speak to your doc about it… not WebMD.
Ahe absolute LAST thing you should do when it comes to your health is punch your symptoms into Google and see what comes up.
That’s how you’ll end up deciding that you have brain cancer, dementia, carpal tunnel, and hemorrhoids all at once… and since the creepy Big Brothers at Google track everything you search for, you can expect to see ads for Preparation H for the rest of your life.