CHARLOTTE, NC -- 'Cyberchondria' is a new buzz word among some doctors for patients who google their symptoms online and then worry over the multitude of results and possible diagnosis.
Experts say self diagnosis on the internet can cause unnecessary fear that a patient has a significant issue when they really don't. Heading online with your symptoms can also cost more money if patients ask doctors to do extra tests to diagnose a simple problem.
Family Practitioner Dr. Jane Sadler agrees it can become challenging to convince patients they don't need extra tests to dianose a simple problem.
"It becomes bad when (patients) arm themselves with too much information. It's created anxiety and their family members are worried about them and they come in with a number of questions when they have a simple concern that has an obvious answer," says Sadler.
Still, using the internet isn't always a bad thing.
Sadler says patients should use the internet as a resource, but not the only resource. "They're pre-educated, which sometimes can be a good thing."
Sadler says it is important to partner with patients and guide them through their online research. "As physicians we need to accept that these patients are coming in with information and we don't need to roll our eyes."
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