Will Google replace medical doctors?

An article on bmj.com, a web site related to medicine and related issues, discusses how the powerful search tools Google is providing can affect even the practice of medicine. Not long time ago, a good doctor needed to know most types of diseases from their symptoms. I hope this is still required from them, but things are getting much easier these days.

According to the article:

In a recent letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, a New York rheumatologist describes a scene at rounds where a professor asked the presenting fellow to explain how he arrived at his diagnosis. Matter of factly, the reply came: "I entered the salient features into Google, and [the diagnosis] popped right up." The attending doctor was taken aback by the Google diagnosis. "Are we physicians no longer needed? Is an observer who can accurately select the findings to be entered in a Google search all we need for a diagnosis to appear—as if by magic?" In a post-Google world, where evidence based education is headed is anyone's guess. Googling your diagnosis; Googling your treatment—where is all this leading us?

This certainly is not an isolated case. Many people, not only doctors, are using the web to search for diagnosis for diseases. An example from a well known person is Patrick Volkerding from Slackware Linux, who apparently had to search the symptoms of his disease to have some idea of it was. Probably many other people can be found in the same situation...

Technorati tags: ,

No comments: