Google Health: my first impressions

In Evidence-Based Medicine, Website reviews on May 27, 2008 by Danielle

There are so many Google widgets, I cannot keep up, nor do I really try. I must confess that Google health first came to my knowledge simultaneously from a listserv and from the lovely UBC academic search blog here.

I posted this comment on there (and cannot be bothered to put it into different words):

It will be interesting to see what sort of effect the vast amount of consumer health information provided on Google Health will have on the people who use it. Will people self-diagnose themselves more and avoid going to the doctor, or present more frequently? Will it help reach hard to reach populations such as males between the ages of 12 and 99? The person profile part is a good idea if we can trust Google (and as many trust them with email, why not with personal medical histories?).

Having been involved in evidence-based healthcare for the past several years, I have to cast a skeptical eye over the Google health topics and wonder about things like how often they will be updated (I don’t see dates on any of the topics), why it doesn’t include references to studies when it makes a statement about the effectiveness of a given treatment, and the reliability of information from the company it uses, Adam. Okay, so Google Health is still in beta mode, so we can expect more transparency with regards to the methods used to research the topics, right? Because currently, it just says “health content for consumers that is physician-reviewed by experts in their field”. Hmm.


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