In recent years, people are turning more and more to the Internet for health information and to “self-diagnose.” With an increasing variety of medical apps available for the iPhone, iPad, Android, and other mobile platforms, self-diagnosis has become even more accessible. Unfortunately, however, checking the boxes next to a variety of symptoms and waiting for a mobile device to spew forth a litany of potential ailments lacks the sensitivity and accuracy of a human diagnostician. Further, those who are not trained in medicine may misinterpret symptoms as erroneously relevant or erroneously irrelevant, leading to misdiagnosis.
A poll conducted by consulting company PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that one-third of Americans use social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to obtain information about health and wellness . Respondents reported using social media resources to self-diagnose, get information about prescription drugs, and check up on doctors’ and hospitals’ reputations.