Don’t overtrust the Internet on health issues, says MARD

Mumbai : In wake of the rising incidences of people browsing through the Internet/Wikipedia for health-related queries rather than consulting a doctor, Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) has initiated a campaign ‘Doctor is primary, Internet is supplementary’ from January 1 wherein patients’ misconceptions related to health will be cleared and they will be encouraged to trust and consult a doctor.

A study in May 2014 revealed that nine out of ten people who trusted Wikipedia about health-related problems are not correct. On this basis, MARD had conducted a survey on the same subject with over 400 patients in past 15 days who came to them for treatment. The criteria for the patients to be included in the survey were that they should be HSC passed and must use Internet on a daily basis.

The survey findings revealed that 320 patients out of 400 have browsed internet for health-related information at least once. And 110 patients out of 400 have referred to the Internet on a regular basis for health information. Further, 56 have taken medications based on the information of internet without consulting a doctor, of which only 12 did not have any proper recovery and had to subsequently visit a doctor.

Elaborating on the issue, Dr Sagar Mundada, a psychiatrist from JJ Hospital and president of MARD, said: “During the survey, we found out that 35% believe that the information provided on the Internet is true and 32 out of 400 patients trust Internet more than the doctor for their health-related queries. These findings have become a huge cause of concern for us as it can turn out to be life-threatening for patients. Therefore, MARD will be posting simple but often mistaken facts on our FB page ‘We Care’ about health as our primary motive is to clear certain basic health concepts every individual should know today. We also welcome queries of the patients and we aim to build the trust of patients.”

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