Real healthcare occurs outside of the doctor's office and hospitals, not when the patient shows up to make a complaint once their symptoms have developed ― Emmanuel Fombu


image by: Nick Kenrick

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The right way to google your symptoms

Is googling your symptoms a good idea or a bad idea? One way to find out is to google this question. Type “googling symptoms” into Google’s search bar, and you’ll be confronted by a slew of headlines like “Doctors really, really want you to stop googling your symptoms” and “Here’s why googling your symptoms is a terrible idea” and even “Googling your symptoms is more dangerous than cancer itself.” In seconds, you will understand that googling your symptoms is a terrible thing to do and that you should stop immediately. Still, about 1% of all Google searches, which corresponds to millions of searches, are related to medical symptoms.

But it isn’t true that there’s no upside to googling…

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 The right way to google your symptoms

Despite what many might say, Google is a powerful tool with great potential for health and medicine, if we go about this the right way. One entity that understands this is Google itself. The company has partnered with world-class health and medical institutions, such as Harvard and Mayo Clinic, to improve the accuracy and usefulness of online symptom searching. One thing is for sure: giving up and telling people not to google their symptoms is counterproductive and may even be a missed opportunity.


DDx is medical shorthand for differential diagnosis, and this is a podcast about how doctors think and learn on the job. It’s hosted by Dr. Raj Bhardwaj and is produced by Figure 1, the global knowledge-sharing platform for medicine.


Dr. Lisa Sanders recreates hard-to-solve medical case studies.

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