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Dr Google may be smart, but HealthDirect is smarter


Google has just launched a new service in Australia designed to counter dodgy health advice on the Internet.

The tech giant has announced its ‘Health Condition Cards’ will now pop up in the search results for over 900 common medical conditions such as measles, flu or asthma.

The Cards, which were developed by doctors, will outline the condition as well as its symptoms, diagnosis and treatments. But they are American doctors.

So is this a smart idea?

We are using Google to avoid the doctor

A NPS Medicinewise survey last year found three in five people (58 per cent) searched health conditions to avoid seeing a doctor. For 18 to 34-year-olds, this jumped to four in five people (79 per cent).

Helping us potentially identify our illnesses is no good if we don’t actually follow up with a health professional.

Google’s cards also recommend American sites such as the Mayo Clinic and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as sources of medical information rather than Australian sites.

healthIf you need an online health resource, we recommend HealthDirect.

It’s an Australian government-backed website plus call centre. It talks about Australian insect stings, symptoms and medications and they have a free online Symptom Checker where you can look up your symptoms and see whether you need to see a doctor or go to your nearest hospital or emergency department.

You can also then ring their helpline which has nurses available 24/7.

And remember if you have any concerns about your health, see a GP.

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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