Today it is easier than ever to access health information via the Internet, and online diagnosis has become a popular choice among those who would rather analyse their symptoms online than visit their GP in person. It seems like the logical decision to simply use your virtual server service to access sites offering online diagnosis; it is free and can be done in the comfort of your own home, eliminating the inconvenience of costly doctors’ fees and crowded waiting rooms. But how do you know if you can trust the health information you receive online? Below are some crucial guidelines to help you decide just how reputable your chosen online diagnosis tool is:
Before trusting an online source for a diagnosis or health information, it’s important to know who’s behind the website. The web address is an indicator of who runs the site, for example .gov sites are sponsored by the Government, and .edu by an educational institution.
Take a look at how the online diagnosis site links to other websites; the most reliable medical sites will be conservative with their links and will only be associated with highly relevant sites of good quality.
Before trusting a website for an online diagnosis, ask yourself a few important questions about the information presented on the site. Is the information current, and has this online resource been regularly updated? Do the medical facts presented on the site contain reliable references like medical journals? And does the site give any information about the qualifications of those reviewing and posting the material covering symptoms and diagnosis or medical and pharmaceutical news?
To get an accurate idea of a site’s quality, take a look at how the site interacts with users – does the site encourage feedback, queries and information sharing? Does it offer an online discussion forum and how is it moderated? Are they satisfied with the medical information and diagnoses provided by the site?
The Second Opinion
Even when you’ve found a truly trustworthy medical resource, be aware that you shouldn’t rely solely on an online diagnosis – if your symptoms point to something serious, take a moment to disconnect from your business Internet service provider and give your doctor a call.
There is a lot of quality information available on the World Wide Web, but an online diagnosis still can’t beat a good old-fashioned face-to-face assessment by a caring and trusted family doctor!