Should we Trust Doctor Google?

October 29, 2018| Health and Wellbeing /

Let’s face it. It’s almost impossible not to seek out health information when we’re worried or unwell, despite warnings that we shouldn’t necessarily rely on Dr Google for advice. What could be easier than reaching for our phone or laptop to investigate?  

While Dr Google can provide a lot of health advice, it’s not always a reliable source of health information which can quickly leave us feeling pretty anxious or even self-diagnosing ourselves, especially late at night. Having said that, the teams at Epworth are always chuffed when people are well informed and eager to play an active role in their care.

When looking for an online health resource, the challenge is to become a health super-detective, analysing a website to make an assessment of its reliability before taking too much onboard. As long as we’re careful when searching for information, it’s a great way to get some insights in your own time – just remember that it shouldn’t replace advice from a healthcare professional.

Here are a few tips to help you decide if Dr Google has thrown up a gem or a brick:

At Epworth, we have a few different places that our community can find information and articles. Our blog is a great place to start if you’re looking to stay up to date on health, wellbeing and healthcare news.
— Dion Van de Kamp, Social Media and Digital Marketing Manager, Epworth
  • Visit sites that end in .org or .edu as these are more likely to be accurate.

  • Consider what country the website was made in. What’s relevant in the US might not be the same here in Australia.

  • Is the information provided by a healthcare professional (like a doctor or a physiotherapist)? Beware of groups with a political agenda (like discredited anti-vaccination lobbyists).

The Epworth Village is perfect for finding information that’s backed by Epworth and is reviewed regularly. There’s also an online forum where people can connect with and support each other.
— Dion Van de Kamp, Social Media and Digital Marketing Manager, Epworth

It’s okay to be prepared and share the information you’ve found with your healthcare team.

The Epworth Village isn’t about replacing healthcare advice, it’s about bringing Epworth’s reputable knowledge into a single place to share with our patients and the community.
— Dion Van de Kamp, Social Media and Digital Marketing Manager, Epworth

By working together, trusting your own healthcare team’s diagnosis and treatment plan, and exploring the latest reliable advice, we can be assured that we’re working as a team.



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