Pitfalls of Online Medical Diagnosis
This web site does not provide medical advice or medical diagnosis.
Online medical diagnosis refers to the practice whereby
web sites make live doctors available in chat rooms
to answer questions and pose tentative diagnoses to symptoms.
This practice has numerous limitations and pitfalls that make it no substitute
for in-person face-to-face medical advice from your doctor.
Some of the reasons that online medical advice may not have the same level of quality
as a face-to-face consultation may include:
- Lack of visual feedback: In an in-person doctor's consultation, the doctor
makes numerous assessments about your general appearance, general demeanor, and other
physical characteristics. These play an important role in diagnosis, and the absence
of these in online diagnosis is problematic.
- Lack of physical examination: Performing a physical examination of a patient
is a cornerstone of a diagnostic consultation with a doctor.
The fact that this cannot occur for online diagnosis make the online process inherently
Reasons for Using Online Medical Diagnosis
Nevertheless, in some instances, such online services can be useful to people.
Some examples of such reasons may include:
Medical consultations can be expensive and altnerative methods of interacting
with medical experts can be useful.
- Embarassment: Some people may find it easier to discuss the details
of embarassing physical medical conditions, or to discuss their own personal issues
in counselling, when doing so online.
- Convenience: The practical difficulty of traveling to the doctor's office
can be an issue for some.
- Time: Some patients feel that they do not get enough time with their doctors,
and may have numerous questions left unanswered after a consultation.
Although these points are reasonable, nevertheless, this decision needs to be weighed
against the fact that it is likely that the quality of advice provided over the internet
will be significantly lower than would occur in a face-to-face consultation at your
» Next page: Self Diagnosis Pitfalls
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