• France's news in English

French GPs using Google for consultations

Ben McPartland · 24 Apr 2013, 09:43

Published: 24 Apr 2013 09:43 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Despite patients being warned about the dangers of using the internet to help diagnose their maladies it turns out doctors in France are doing exactly that.

In the first survey of its kind a staggering 96 percent of doctors admitted to using Google to search for medical information, a quarter of which, will use it several times a day.

The poll of practitioners titled “Web and Health” revealed doctors are using the search engine to find out scientific information or details of a pharmaceutical products as well as an aide during their consultations with patients.

“As part of their professional research, pharmaceutical websites feature prominently, suggesting the link between the two is significant,” said Beatrice Chemla, the president of the Research Institute Listening Pharma, which carried out the survey.

The internet is now home to thousands of “medical” websites offering info and advice on anything from minor skin rashes to deadly diseases, but thankfully it appears most French doctors are not just searching anywhere for help.

At the top of the list of searched sites was the Haute Autorité de Santé (High Authority for Health) and perhaps reassuringly at the bottom of the list were social media sites.

The survey also revealed that unlike doctors, who can access more trusted websites, patients in France were more inclined to view the most visited sites when it comes to looking for online medical help.

The content might be “more visible”, said Sylvain Page from communications agency Hopscotch Digital, but its “reliability can be questionable.”

Story continues below…

According to the survey the most searched topic put into Google.fr is cancer, followed by Aids, diabetes and depression.

Web users in France are also making use of social media sites like Facebook to discuss their ailments, most notably mental health issues.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available