More people than not—likely including you—have fallen down the digital rabbit hole of Googling symptoms; the habit has even sparked countless funny-because-they’re-true memes. Sometimes the answers you find result in even more totally unnecessary stress—you know, like when a particularly nagging headache leads you into being 99 percent sure you’re having a stroke. But, according to new research, the intel you learn from your independent research can actually do you a lot of good.
In a new study published in the Medical Journal of Australia, researchers found more than a third of 400 emergency room patients had Googled their symptoms before going to the hospital. For nearly half of that segment, it wasn’t the first time they had done so, either. Furthermore, those searches proved to be helpful when the patients met with a doc. “Patients reported they were more able to ask informed questions, communicate effectively, and understand their health provider,” the study reports.
“Patients reported they were more able to ask informed questions, communicate effectively, and understand their health provider,” the study reports.
So, the next time you’re experiencing something that’s bothering you, don’t be afraid to use Google as a resource. But, then be sure to head to your doctor for an expert diagnosis so you can get a proper, non-internet-related treatment plan. Doing some of your own research beforehand—and being able to ask important questions and seek clarifications to would-be complicated notions IRL—can help you snag better care, even if your initial health-care hypothesis from Dr. Google was totally off-base.
Here’s how often you should really be seeing the doctor. Or, check out five important questions you should ask your doctor about breast health.
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