01 Nov “Cyberchondria,” says Dr. Google
A woman sits at a computer, face illuminated by the hazy glow of the computer, while panic slowly rises in her throat. The somewhat mundane symptoms seem to point to a most dramatic diagnosis. Her pointer finger scrolls furiously as she reads the analysis from her convenient, in-home doctor possessing a silent voice: Dr. Google.
Now Dr. Google is a doctor of worldwide proportions, possessing an inordinate amount of resources at his disposal, and is always available with the snap (or click) of a finger. While his countenance may be somewhat lacking and knowledge questionable , the convenience seems to far outweigh any qualms.
So his word is final.
Entering a time when vast numbers of people have Internet access and search engine capabilities, the reliance on information and the latter ‘Dr. Google’ seems to be creating a number of Cyberchondriacs. Having access to 24/7 information is certainly helpful, but informed interpretation (aka medical doctors) over unwavering trust wins every time. With seniors being the fastest-growing group to go online, a recent study in The Journal of Health and Aging relayed that though they are less likely to research their condition online, they are the most likely to trust the information they find. Dr. Google can certainly ‘spit up’ a lot of information, but he should not be wholeheartedly trusted.
One of the services ACCfamily provides is a nurse to accompany your loved one to doctor’s appointments. In this way, your loved one has not only a real registered nurse to help understand what they are feeling, but a trained professional to accompany your loved one to interpret their doctor’s advice, ask specific questions concerning their condition, and understand suggested cures. ACCfamily also has companions that encourage medical inquiries to informed health professionals. While tech support and computer usage is helpful across all ages, discernment is necessary in wading through the Internet landscape. The latter task can be navigated with families or with help from ACCfamily in a reliable manner, so Dr. Google does not have the last say in diagnosis.