HealthBeat

HealthBeat

Washingtonians like to consult Dr. Google

Paging, Dr. Google.

A new report shows that 44 percent of Americans consult with the internet “doctor” rather than a medical professional to assess a health issue.

In Washington, 50 percent of residents prefer to self-diagnose, according to research conducted by The Tinker Law Firm, a Seattle-based medical malpractice firm.

Arkansans are the most likely to self-diagnose – 83 percent said they’d consult the internet over a doctor (!) – and Oregonians are least likely (13 percent).

The Googling of symptoms isn’t completely harmless, according to the report. About 15 percent of Americans admit that the searches lead to anxiety or “cyberchondria.”

The report also found that women are more likely to self-diagnose (36 percent of women, compared to 29 percent of men) and 30 percent of people turn to home remedies to deal with health issues.

One in five parents admit they would consult the internet regarding their children’s symptoms before seeing a doctor. When it comes to their children, however, men are more likely to Google symptoms (32 percent) than women (12 percent).

 

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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