Google Doctor on the horizon?

Written by Ryan Garside

November 13, 2006 | 13:04

Tags: #doctor #illness #medical #medicine #study

Companies: #google #research

A medical research study proposes that Google could actually help doctors diagnose illnesses. The test, which you can download at the British Medical Journal's site, attempted to clarify what role internet search engines can play in health care.

The result is actually quite startling; Google correctly diagnosed 58 percent of the medical cases proposed, in the other 42% Google gave a diagnosis but not one doctors considered detailed enough to be correct. The article isn't particularly long and is well worth a read, with the conclusion advising that doctors receive training in Google searching to make the most of the resource:

"Physicians have been estimated to carry two million facts in their heads to fulfill this role [diagnostician]. With medical knowledge expanding rapidly, even this may not be enough. Search engines allow quick access to an ever increasing knowledge base. Google gives users ready access to more than three billion articles on the web and has far exceeded PubMed as the search engine of choice for retrieving medical articles."

The question of how satisfied you would be as a patient if you found your doctor checking the net is certainly one that the media will pose. In reality though doctors will still require the extensive knowledge and training they already receive and the use of Google will be simply as a supplement. As humanity's knowledge of medicine evolves it becomes increasingly important that doctors have access to as many resources as possible.

How would you feel if you saw your doctor checking Google after a checkup? Let us know in the forums.
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