Google Search for Medical Care

SRINAGAR — With more and more people in Kashmir Valley getting hooked to internet for health issues, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Monday cautioned against use of Google for medical advice.

“Google cannot substitute your doctor,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a communiqué.

“Many people are treating Google as their doctor and the dangerous trend is on the rise,” he said.

Dr Nisar said that the danger with the internet is that you can incorrectly diagnose yourself. “The biggest problem is that a symptom that is presented for one disease may also be a symptom of another disease,” he added.

He further said, “While your headache may be due to migraine or sinusitis, you may end up diagnosing yourself with brain tumor by Dr Google.”

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“You may get a label of indigestion for upper abdominal discomfort from the web, but actually it may be a sign of heart attack,” Dr Nisar said.

He said, “Psychosomatic disorders are the other dangers with Dr Google,” he said, adding that “these disorders have no physical disease and physical symptoms in them and are due to mental factors.”

Dr Nisar said that the incorrect diagnosis can lead to incorrect prescription, which can make one more ill. “You will be taking medication for an illness you don’t have,” he said.

He said computers and smartphones can’t replace medical professionals who use a complex symptom tree model to diagnose the cause of symptoms. “Initial questions, tests and observations lead to secondary questions and tests and so on, until all but one diagnosis is ruled out,” he said.

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He further said, “It is important to remember that technology will never bring the single most important aspect to medical care: the human touch. Holding of patients’ hands, guiding them through their treatment and discussing all available options is something technology will never create.”

“The science can be replicated, sure, and in fact help in diagnosis and treatment plans, but the humanity of one life impacting another will never be matched,” Dr Nisar said.

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