A new study has revealed that 26% of students aged 18-24, have chosen to diagnose their symptoms on the web because they had to wait too long for a doctor’s appointment- an increase of 19% from last year. Almost one in five (17%) said they couldn’t get an appointment and had turned to googling their symptoms instead.
The top terms students search for when self-diagnosing is ‘back pain’ shortly followed by diarrhoea and depression respectively. Also in the top ten most searched terms was meningitis, ovulation, chlamydia, lupus and diabetes.
The research, conducted by PushDoctor.co.uk found that 23% of students aren’t registered with a GP in their University town or city, and a third weren’t prepared to get out of bed for a doctor’s appointment, saying they wouldn’t miss the opportunity of a lie-in to see their doctor.
After obsessively Googling symptoms for four hours, I discovered "obsessively Googling symptoms" is a symptom of hypochondria.
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) August 9, 2012
Almost half a students, (44%) wouldn’t cancel a gym session to go to the doctor, and, 35% would keep arrangements to meet friends over visiting their GP.
A UK league table reveals people in Liverpool, as the top ‘googlers’ of health concerns and as the city most likely to be researching back pain and depression. Southampton placed 12th in the table, taking 3.62% of all the UK’s health searches. People in Essex were found to be most likely to be researching chlamydia and issues to do with reproductive health.
need to stop googling my symptons and self diagnosing myself 😳
— Tanya Best (@TanyaBestX) November 24, 2014
Dr Adam Simon, chief medical officer at PushDoctor.co.uk, said:
The findings indicate the extent to which people are now using technology to manage their health. As well as health searches being on the rise, a staggering 91.8% of students now actively use technology to manage their health and wellbeing on a daily basis. People feel good about how technology is helping them to keep track of their health. 76% of people say that new technology helps them feel more in control or more aware of how to manage their health and wellbeing.
PushDoctor.co.uk is an NHS-commissioned online service connecting patients with friendly and highly skilled, GMC-registered UK General Practitioners, via secure video consultations, wherever they are. It was founded in 2013 and has since become one of the fastest growing clinician networks in the country.