Before they see a doctor, most patients turn to websites and smartphone apps.
Caution is advised. Research shows they aren’t very good.
A few years ago, doctors from the Mayo Clinic tested the wisdom of online health advice. Their conclusion: It’s risky. According to their study, going online for health advice is more likely to result in getting no advice or incomplete advice than the right advice.
The doctors assessed the quality of advice on the top sites returned from Google, Yahoo and Bing for searches on common health complaints — like “chest pain” or “headache.”