No, I'm Not A Doctor — But I Can Search Google

from the and-i-stayed-at-a-holiday-inn-express-last-night dept

A new study from a group of Australian doctors says that Google can help doctors diagnose tricky cases. It’s hard to know exactly why they needed a study to figure this out — it would seem like doctors would be pretty familiar with searching reference materials if they needed help making a diagnosis, and given the wealth of knowledge that’s online, as well as instances where it’s proven helpful to doctors, you’d think they’d have figured it out by now. But perhaps the bigger point is to emphasize the value of collective, shared knowledge. One of the common retorts from critics of the likes of Wikipedia is that using it, or other internet sources, is like letting a crowd of untrained people perform brain surgery. That’s patently false, and when you have a group of trained, intelligent people (in this case, doctors), that are able to pick out the expert resources from the unreliable ones, the crowd and its shared knowledge can be quite useful. Of course, Google and the internet as a whole can be quite a boon to cyberchondriacs, and people who think they can diagnose themselves by looking things up online. However, the internet won’t replace doctors — it just offers them a tool to supplant the Physician’s Desk Reference, medical journals and other more traditional resources.

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Comments on “No, I'm Not A Doctor — But I Can Search Google”

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nunya_bidness says:

over commercialized

I can imagine someone going to the doctor and he looks on Google for assistance and the patient gets a prescription to join paypal and ebay, and other suggestions for healthy living from nextag or some “Buy books on swollen sphincter at”. Give me a break, this great information came from the joint effort of the people that gave us things like Youtube, and labels on sleeping pills that warn of drowsiness as a side effect.

Lucas (user link) says:

Google and sharing knowledge

I put together a few pages recently on using Google’s tools (as well as Firefox) for knowledge management – sort of a similar idea to this article.

When approaching user training and design, we tend to focus on designing for the lowest common denominator (which can be a good thing sometimes). However, we tend to forget that the people who are using these tools (whether they’re Google or expensive pay databases) are quite able to distinguish authoritative sources from non-authoritative ones — they wouldn’t be very good doctors if they couldn’t.

Where I think doctors could really benefit is through a shared community of practice that was specific to what they do — i.e. neurosurgeons could ask other neurosurgeons if they ever encountered situation X before, and possibly pose that questions to a broader non-neurosurgeon audience.

Not being a doctor, I don’t know if this kind of thing already exists or not.

Dav says:

I would expect they use Google Scholar rather then standard Google> Pubmed as well as all the major journals do come up in Scholar searches. I have has a lot of experience with this as I’m a biochemistry degree student and found it to be very powerful.

In medicine papers are an important resource for new groundbreaking treatments and diagnoses so doctors will want the best search tools out there namely Google Scholar and Pubmed.

A voice in the wilderness says:

The Evils of Wikipedia

> One of the common retorts from critics of the likes of Wikipedia is that using it, or other internet sources, is like letting a crowd of untrained people perform brain surgery. That’s patently false, and when you have a group of trained, intelligent people (in this case, doctors), that are able to pick out the expert resources from the unreliable ones, the crowd and its shared knowledge can be quite useful.

It is B.S. Wikipedia does NOT pick out experts from the crowd. The fundamental flaw of Wikipedia is that every avid “contributor” has a hidden agenda. Governments use Wikipedia to distribute propaganda. Why doesn’t the US-Iraq war article mention the Manning Memo, a historic document proving that the reason for the war had nothing to do with fear of WMDs? This memo was huge news in the world press, including the U.S. press, but all traces of it were removed from Wikipedia.

Big companies use Wikipedia to spin publicity for their company and its products. Try mentioning the recall of product that caused human deaths and see how quickly it gets yanked.

The fact is that governments and corporations have whole departments that use one or more Wikipedia accounts to control the information distributed by Wikipedia. Their strategy is always the same. Create an account, have 10 agents use that account to build credit by snuffing vandalism (possibly placed by the organization using different accounts, and then get to be an “admin”. Form a coalition of admin accounts and take control of articles of interest. Monitor the articles 24/7 with emails being automatically sent to the agent on duty. Near instantaneous censorship and spin control.

Therefore, Wikipedia is revisionist history controlled by organizations with very bad agendas. It does far more harm than it could ever do good. Wikipedia is perhaps the greatest evil of the Internet because it fools people into thinking that it is good. It is not.

The selective inclusion of certain historical facts and omission of other historical facts renders Wikipedia into the ultimate propaganda machine. One that has been used to advocate the continue torturing of human beings in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and secret prisons throughout the former Soviet Union.

Any inconvenient facts are quickly removed as “NPV”. Such removed facts include links to confirmed video footage of atrocities, U.N. reports, Amnesty International reports, and audio recordings of acts of torture. If Wikipedia had been around in 1945, any reference to the holocaust would have been deleted as NPV.

To support Wikipedia in any way is to support revisionist history. Ultimately, that is a crime against future generations. No matter how bad the actions of our world leaders are now and how powerless we are to stop them, it is critical for future generations to know the truth no matter how ugly it is.

Do not make the problem even worse by supporting or quoting Wikipedia. To give it any creditability is to condone it’s horrific rewriting of history.

DV Henkel-Wallace says:

use 'em all -- what's the big deal

Carlo has it. Have you never been to the doctor and had her consult the PDR or one of the other fat books in her office?

We use a search engine heavily (I use google to search — much easier) but we also use medline, pubmed, books and even (gasp) the library at Stanford medical school. Why not?

Anonymous Coward says:

The Evils of Wikipedia

> Dude, you have some serious conspiracy theory issues, don’t you.

Dude, 30 years ago he might have been a conspiracy nut. Today, it’s just common sense. Did you know that every color laser printer embeds codes that track you. Am I crazy? Here’s the report from the Electronic Freedom Foundation:

Not scary enough? How about the government tracking your every move:

Still not scary enough? How about the government killing U.S. citizens to create a panic and enter a war: You know this is what they later tried and accomplished in Iraq.

Not scared yet? How about the U.S. government killing its citizens by radiation poisoning to use them as ginnie pigs for a war machine? I don’t have a URL for this one because I saw it on a PBS special, but I’m sure you can find it. One person who died from this sick experiment was a man at Strom Memorial hospital in Rochester, NY.

Still not enough? How about poisoning an entire major U.S. city?

In one experiment, U.S. scientists sprayed mild germs (Sarratia marcescens) on San Francisco, to assess the ability of pathogens to spread through urban centers.

Of course, if it was a harmless experiment to determine how quickly germs would spread, wouldn’t it make more sense to run the experiment in Washington D.C. which would be the most likely target, especially given that the weather patterns in San Francisco are different from D.C. and would offer no real insight to how airborne germ would travel in D.C?

How about our government trying to make small pox even more deadly? Also from Gee, didn’t small pox kill enough babies before we got it under control?

I hate to break this too you, but Wilderness is being too optimistic. If our government is doing all this crap, why would it be unbelievable that it also spins Wikipedia?

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