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Internet sourced diagnosis often unreliable

12th April 2010

Researchers from Nottingham have said that people who look for information about their child's medical condition on the internet could be receiving incorrect data.

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The team used Google to look for information about five conditions: HIV breastfeeding, mastitis breastfeeding, baby sleeping position, green vomit and MMR autism.

The researchers, from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, discovered that 50% of the results returned by the search engine failed to answer the original query.

They found that 39% of the results gave correct answers, while 11% of the 500 results returned incorrect information.

The highest number of incorrect results were returned about MMR and autism, followed by HIV and breastfeeding.

Sponsored links performed particularly badly and in the case of the MMR and autism search provided information about receiving MMR as a single injection.

"Healthcare professionals should continue to strive to be the main source of information for patients but we should be aware that most will continue to use the internet to gather information," the researchers wrote in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

"We suggest that in addition to verbal and written information, patients and parents should be signposted to NHS, governmental or other pre-approved websites."

 

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Article Information

Title: Internet sourced diagnosis often unreliable
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 14606
Date Added: 12th Apr 2010

Sources

Nursing Times
BBC News

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