Category: Technology

Beware of Dr. Google (Part 2)

(This is Part 2 of a 2-part series. You can find part 1 here.)

Almost everyone is susceptible to self-diagnosis from well-meaning searches, but some people are more prone than others. When I was in medical school 39 years ago, before the internet took off, we called it Medical Student Disease. It usually involved one or more of us, depending on what ordinary symptoms we had that day, wondering if we had the disease we were studying. It usually subsided when we got into enough detail about these diseases to realize we didn’t have them. I’m sure it’s a side-effect of the training of any healthcare professional. 

Possible Hazards

Using Dr. Google to make a self-diagnosis in order to avoid seeking medical care, second-guess your primary care provider, or seek alternative treatments can cause a lot of problems.

Delaying the Correct Diagnosis and Treatment

Using Google to make a diagnosis may lead to a misdiagnosis and delay the correct diagnosis. It can be further delayed for those who have difficulty surrendering their self-diagnosis after seeing their healthcare provider.

Cyberchondria

Cyberchondria is a form of illness anxiety disorder (formerly called

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Beware of Dr. Google (Part 1)

This is Part 1 of a 2-part series.

The internet is full of medical information. Much of it is accurate and current, but some of it is inaccurate, out of date, misleading, biased, or downright advertising. Moreover, sometimes weird-sounding things actually work (for example, fecal transplants for C. difficile infections). On the other hand, there are perfectly seemingly logical solutions that are not effective (such as antibiotics for most ear infections).

However, accuracy is not the major problem with online medical information. The problem is that too many people use Dr. Google for self-diagnosis. While it may be tempting to use the internet as a way of avoiding going to a healthcare professional, it’s not really up to the task.

Many people seeking a diagnosis search their symptoms and look at the results as confirmation of their condition. In addition to possible misinformation, this eliminates the crucial role of the medical history and physical examination in the making of a diagnosis.

This approach is fraught with danger. While incorrect results can be falsely reassuring, they will more likely be

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Making the Self-Care Commitment, One Step at a Time

There’s no better time than right now to invest in your health. Odds are you do it every day — even if you don’t know that’s what you’re doing.

From taking over-the-counter (OTC) medication for headaches, to setting weight loss goals or wearing a fitness tracker, most of us practice self-care every day without realizing it. New research from BeMedWise details just how common self-care is.

Among the report’s 2,000+ survey respondents:

  • 92% desire more control over their health
  • 89% say they know where to find answers to health questions or concerns
  • 80% feel the need to manage their health now more than ever before
  • 88% express confidence in making their own health decisions

The full report, titled “Empowering Americans to Take Greater Responsibility for Their Health,” examines how self-care can improve an individual’s health while also reducing medical costs.

It comes at a time where 6 in 10 U.S. adults are living with a chronic disease. Chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and depression together account for 90% of our $3.3 trillion healthcare budget.

However, the U.S. economy could save an estimated $6.6 billion if just 10% of those with a chronic disease adopted self-care practices.

Below, we’ll describe what self-care is and why it’s having a hard time catching on. Then we’ll send you off 

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Patient Safety Advocates Oppose Foreign Online Pharmacies

Last summer the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global) launched a campaign to raise awareness of counterfeit drugs from foreign online pharmacies.  This year, they have drafted a letter to the U.S. Congress to encourage them to oppose proposals that allow American consumers to buy Health Canada-approved medication from “legitimate” Canadian online pharmacies.

Buying medications from other countries has been an idea proposed to combat the high cost of prescriptions in the United States. Starting in 1999 politicians began filling buses with senior constituents and driving them to Canada, starting with then-Representative Bernie Sanders from Vermont. The seniors would travel with prescriptions written by American doctors; once in Canada, a Canadian doctor would rewrite the prescription and then have it filled at a Canadian pharmacy at a fraction of the U.S. cost. One woman’s breast cancer drug, which cost $110 for a one-month supply in Maine, could be bought in Canada for only $12.

Since the advent of the internet, the process to get prescriptions from across the Canadian border has become seemingly easier but

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Know What to Look for When Buying Medication Online

In previous blog posts, we have explored the risks of online pharmacies and the increased risks faced by the elderly. This is largely related to Medicare/Medicaid and the growing number of people who are covered by it. Ten thousand Americans turn 65 every day, and not every treatment is covered by Medicare. This can lead senior Americans to look elsewhere for affordable medications, including potentially fraudulent online pharmacies.

This year, the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP) is launching a campaign to raise awareness. A recent review of over 11,000 websites selling prescription medications online to US consumers found nearly 96% noncompliant with US laws and as much as 50% of the medicines sold online are fake. Counterfeit medicines contain little to no active ingredients and could contain dangerous poisons including floor wax, mercury, concrete, chalk, boric acid, road tar, paint or anti-freeze. Interpol estimates that counterfeit drugs are responsible for up to a million annual deaths worldwide.

Lower prices and the convenience of online shopping are major factors driving consumers to the internet for their medications,

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About Us

Welcome to the NeedyMeds Voice! We look forward to presenting you with timely, provocative pieces on healthcare reform, patient advocacy, medication and healthcare access, and other health-related news. Our goals are to educate, enlighten, and elucidate; together, we will try to make sense of the myriad and ongoing healthcare-related changes in the U.S. today.