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How does the ease of using Google influence many of us in diagnosing illness? That’s a question Kolabtree posed in a survey to consumers to measure the impact of Google and new developments such as the NHS integration in Amazon’s Alexa. 

In responding to the question “where do you get your health information from?”, most people (56.7%) said their doctor was a chosen source of information. However, 26.2% of the public said that the results at the top of Google, those sites deemed worthy of high visibility after Google’s Medic update, which cracked down on health-related content. Whilst a slightly smaller portion of people (25.1%) use the internet with more restraint, taking advice only from trusted government websites. An even lower proportion (8.4%), selected the answer “The Internet (other sources)”. Only 4.5% claimed social media networks were their go-to source for medical advice.  A further 14.5% said they speak to friends and family about health issues, while 15.4% of people chose the answer “None of the above”. Perhaps this portion of people represents those who are starting to make use of applications such as Amazon Alexa’s NHS health integration.

It seems the legitimacy of professional practices still influences most people to visit their local GP. However, when you analyse the results, it appears more people are looking at different corners of the internet to find solutions.
The final result? Slightly more people (64.2%) are using the internet to read up on health-related queries versus those visiting the doctor (56.7%), but it’s a close call with no real “winners” in this round.  It’s important to note that people could vote for more than one source of information. For example, they could select both visiting the doctor and using Google to get information. The average number of options chosen was 1.5, meaning most people use more than one method to check health content.

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