The Internet and the modern digital environment have changed ways that people think and act. Traditionally, a medical emergency or even a slight fever would mean reaching for the telephone to book an appointment with a doctor. While this part is still relevant, there is now an additional dimension to it. People reach for their laptops and smart phones to know what is wrong with them and seek medical advice online.
A recent survey conducted jointly by Pew Internet and the American Life Project found that more than 80% of online browsers have at some point in time researched online to know more about diseases or what is wrong with them. Further online health communities have members sharing medical conditions between themselves. On the other hand, those with rather small ailments often have increasing anxiety levels after reading online content of their illness due to imaginary interpretations instead of understanding the reality.
Here are some tips to know how to get the right medical advice online.
- Check credentials – The first point in getting the right medical advice online is to know which sites are credible and authoritative. A rule of thumb is that websites that rank high on results pages of major search engines are deemed to be the more dependable ones. An example will better illustrate this point. A medical site to get high volumes of traffic will opt for search engine optimisation in Australia if the team is located in that country purely to increase their online presence and visibility. These agencies also carry out online digital marketing campaigns and offer ecommerce web development in Melbourne. Sites that have been so optimised are usually the more dependable and reliable ones.
- Verify site sponsor – When you check for medication that you need, it is essential to check the site’s sponsor. Is it a research organisation, a Govt approved body or medical universities? Now-a-days major pharmaceutical bodies tend to push their products through articles and blogs that look like unbiased medical advice. Check if the site has a panel of expert medical practitioners as advisors. Further the name of the site is usually a giveaway. The URL of a University will have “edu”, that of a professional health organisation “org” and Govt. Agency as “gov”. Implement advice only if you are satisfied on this score.
- Look for trusted sources – You need to look for sources that you can trust as well as known agencies in specific medical fields. The American Academy of Family Physicians, Mayo Clinic and Docto Online Hospital and SwiftDoc in Australia are some sites that have earned a name for themselves in proffering safe and timely online medical advice. There are sites that also have medically reviewed content from specialist doctors you can bank on.
Finally, if you find that tips and online advice is not working for you, do not delay matters. Book an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. There is often a communication gap online in you explaining your problem and consultants understanding it. Recommendation in these cases naturally goes haywire.