French GPs using Google for consultations

French GPs using Google for consultations
File photo: hang_in_there/Flickr
An overwhelming number of GPs in France are resorting to the internet search engine Google to help them find medical information that will help with their patient consultations, a new survey revealed this week.

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.”

According to the survey the most searched topic put into 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.

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