Statistics pointed to the risks of self-diagnosis via the Internet

Australian doctors have shown that online services, sites and applications for self-analysis of symptoms and diagnosis give the right advice in only a third of all cases.

(ORDO NEWS) — In recent years, the Internet has become the first “doctor” to seek advice from patients. Statistics in Australia say that about 70 thousand such searches are carried out every minute on Google – and 40 percent of those who are ill are first of all looking for recommendations on the Web.

Specialized sites and applications are becoming more common, allowing you to evaluate your symptoms and get recommendations. Some of them even include artificial intelligence, but the accuracy of such services leaves much to be desired.

After analyzing online services for self-diagnosis, Michella Hill and her colleagues at the University of Edith Cowan in Australian Perth found that only one third of all cases put the right verdict on them. In an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia , scientists cite the results of testing 36 mobile apps and websites for self-management of symptoms and diagnosis.

According to scientists, they give the right advice in an average of 36 percent of cases, and even for applications from the top three most reliable, the performance turned out to be slightly higher than 50 percent. Correct advice on how to hurry and where to turn for medical help, algorithms issued only in 49 percent of cases.

The authors note that the diagnoses and recommendations made by online applications are generally inclined to overestimate the degree of danger of the disease and advise more stringent and urgent measures than the patient actually needs. However, completely discourage their benefits is not worth it. “Such sites are not a substitute for meeting with a doctor, ” Michella Hill says, “but they can be useful in obtaining additional information, already knowing the exact diagnosis.”


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