Internet healthcare: do self-diagnosis sites do more harm than good?

Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2008 May;7(3):227-9. doi: 10.1517/14740338.7.3.227.


Background: The growth of the Internet has enabled the public to more readily access information about health and disease. Available websites include those that provide possible diagnoses for particular symptoms and those that then assist people to decide whether to self-treat or consult a doctor.

Objective: To describe the possible impact of the use of self-diagnosis websites.

Methods: Self-diagnosis websites were reviewed and existing literature in this area was considered.

Conclusions: Although information about possible diagnoses and their management has previously been available through books and leaflets, the development of self-diagnosis websites is different for several reasons. This editorial highlights these differences and possible harms and benefits that could arise from the use of self-diagnosis websites.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Information Services*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Self Care*
  • Self-Examination