A Diagnosis From Your Search History?

search history diagnosis

Flickr: Intel Free Press

In the world of online medicine, the ability to create a diagnosis based off of your search history tops the hot topics lists. This concept interests a lot of people, and the logic behind it legitimizes its claims.

A Search History Diagnosis? Basis for Thought

Think of the last time you experienced an illness symptom. Perhaps your face blushed and felt hot, yet your temperature remained within a normal range. Your next step likely brought you to Google for a web search. You clicked through various links. Then you read possible reasons for the symptoms. Based upon this research, you developed your own reasoning for the onset blushing.

After visiting a doctor and learning their diagnosis, patients often look to Internet searches for more information. This may be a search for details on the illness or what to expect next. Others turn to the Internet for online support groups or local meet ups for support groups.

All of this information together creates a look into the diagnosis process. When combined, this information forms insights into how a patient’s search history correlates with his/her medical conditions.

online search history diagnosis
Research and Studies

Researchers took this thought process and worked backwards. By examining what diagnosed patients searched online, researchers found trends. Before seeing a doctor and receiving a diagnosis, they turned to Google for what their symptoms could be indicating. The results provided to them often times indicated that their final diagnosis was the problem. This means that patients went into doctor appointments already knowing possible diagnoses.

Recent studies into this topic found that using online searches as a basis for diagnosis resulted in low number of false positives. Google itself launched a Flu Trends website in 209. With this site, Google tried to help users see early onset symptoms of flu and Dengue fever. Unfortunately, The site halted its publishing of results for unknown reasons. Microsoft and its search engine Bing found similar trends as well.

medical diagnosis from online search history

Flickr: NEC Corporation

The Future of Healthcare?

Technology still has a far way to go on this topic. However, the future looks promising. With more in-depth research and analysis, these trends may provide new ways for patients to receive rapid, accurate care for their health concerns. Recent advancements like online doctoring growing in popularity leads us to believe that search engine diagnoses will create more opportunities for healthcare.


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