Without a doubt I’m sure we have all opened up the trusty Dr. Google and searched why we have a headache, chest pains or even seeing things on our bodies we have never seen before. The internet has given us the option to find out more about these mysterious symptoms with the speed, convenience and ease of access to direct information unlike trying to book an appointment with the doctor.
Although this alternative may seem like the comfortable way of the future for how we take care ourselves medically, we must always remember the internet is not 100% reliable.
The internet has indeed started “encouraging people to take an active interest in their own health maintenance” and it has already been adopted by the younger users as a means of achieving their desired health “lifestyle” (Lewis 2006, 4 -13) , whether that may be searching information for physical fitness or losing weight.
There is of course always the risk of running into false information which could worsen one’s well-being. This increased level of trust being placed on health sites can damage the once common patient-doctor relationship (Wyatt, Harris, Wathen 2008, 193), considerably the more intelligent choice when experiencing greater pain.
I guess my stance on internet self-diagnosis is the matter of common sense. I think we should appreciate this level of freedom we have when it comes to health self-management as long as we always remind ourselves to be critical in evaluating sources and you should actually visit the doctor when having a stroke.
Lewis, T. (2006). Seeking health information on the internet: lifestyle choice or bad attack of cyberchondria? Media, Culture & Society, volume 28, issue 4: 521-539.
thishourhas22minutes. 2008. “Internet Self-Diagnosis.” YouTube video, posted July 23. Accessed March 30, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjW11wxMApM&feature=related
Wyatt, S., Harris, R. and Wathen, N. (2008). The Go-Betweens: Health, Technology and Info(r)mediation. In Mediating Health Information: The Go-Betweens in a Changing Socio-Technical Landscape. Sally Wyatt, Nadine Wathen and Roma Harris (eds), pp. 1-12. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.