Docs turn to Dr Google

LONDON: Patients are not the only people turning to the Internet for medical information. Searching the worldwide Web with engines such as Google Inc may also help doctors to diagnose perplexing medical conditions, Australian researchers have said.

“Our study suggests that in difficult cases, it is often useful to google for a diagnosis,” said Hangwi Tang, of the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.

To test how good Google is, Tang and team selected three to five search terms for 26 difficult-to-diagnose illnesses reported in a medical journal and did a Goo-gle search. After recording top ranked answers that se-emed to fit the symptoms and comparing them with correct diagnosis, they found the Google searches came up with the right answer in 15, (58 per cent) of cases.

“Web-based search engines such as Google are becoming the latest tools in clinical medicine, and doctors in training need to become proficient in their use,” Tang said in the study.