Aussies Going For Online Health Checks

A survey of 1200 Australians shows that quite a few of us are using online sources to check out their health.

More than 60 per cent of Australians head online to research information before going to a doctor with forty per cent saying they did so to avoid feared embarrassment of talking to a doctor, according to research by Telstra.

BigPond Health’s Virtual Medical Centre, Dr Joe Kosterich said it wasn’t surprising that amidst health concerns like the Swine Flu that the public looked to the internet for more information.

“It’s encouraging to see consumers taking an active interest in their health,” said Kosterich. “There’s information online that, once you have your diagnosis, can provide you with a deeper understanding. The internet can provide information written by a range of doctors, including specialists from a range of different areas including oncology, gastroenterology and cardiology.”

However Kosterich stops short of saying that the Internet is a viable substitute for a doctor. “It’s important that as a community we’re informed, but if you’re concerned, seek advice from a doctor, he says.

BigPond Health has more than 22,000 pages across the site with expert information supplied by more than 1,000 medical specialists.

Dr Kosterich said there were a couple of things people could do if they wanted to check the credibility of the health information contained on the website.

  • If you don’t know who wrote the information or produced the site, give it a miss – there’s no way to confirm or deny its validity.
  • Be wary of sites that offer cures or appear to be geared to selling products.
  • Look for sites, like BigPond Health, that provide comments from a range of qualified medical doctors