Investigators in England used the Google search engine to find the answers to five common pediatric questions (Arch Dis Child 2010: 95(8): 580-2). Some of the questions were: (1) is there a link between MMR and autism (2) should a baby sleep on its back or its front, and (3) should a mother with a breast infection breastfeed? They reviewed 500 web sites. Government sites were correct every time, news sites only 55% of the time, and none of the responses on sponsored sites were correct. The authors concluded that the quality of medical advice from internet sites was variable at best and that physicians should continue to strive to be the major source of health information.
Many of us search for information on the web, and most use Google. I’m guessing that no one is particularly surprised by the results of this study, least of all the pediatricians at West End Pediatrics. We do have some good websites that you can access through our website, but I encourage all our patients to seek out information from us during their visits, by phone, and via email through our website. We feel our experience and accessibility are good, so please ask us lots of questions. You’ll sleep better at night and so will we!
-Contributed by Dr. Phil Dawson, West End Pediatrics