I sometimes get the impression that my affable GP wishes I had not gone to a search engine before appearing at his surgery with my latest ailment and left the business of diagnosis to him. He’s probably right because my fears of being at death’s door have so far always proved incorrect with some kind of placebo or other being all that’s required.

It must be a question of interpreting those internet findings because I read this week that doctors too are increasingly relying on general browsers such as Google and Yahoo for information.

A survey by the information company Wolters Kluwer Health finds search engines cited by 46% of physicians as a frequent source of information and by another 32% as an occasional resource.

Among other survey findings:

  • 63% of physicians report changing an initial diagnosis based on new information accessed via online resources/support tools.
  • Nearly nine in 10 physicians feel that improved access to online medical information and resources has improved the quality of care at their practice; 12% believe that it has impeded the quality of care they provide.