Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Should the NHS be on Yahoo Answers?

Last week Leigh Blackall and I agreed that patients needed access to high quality information on the internet but we disagreed on how that would happen. He mentioned Yahoo Answers and I and many of those I know on twitter responded sceptically. Why would ANYONE look to Yahoo Answers??!! But my experience of looking for information online is most often centred around knowing the diagnosis. If you are trying to make sense of your symptoms then it is a whole different ballgame. So I decided to make a short screencast to show what the experience might be like.
What should we do about this? Make the existing NHS websites more user-friendly when checking symptoms? Develop better tools for symptom sorting? Make sure that the relevant NHS pages are serach optimised? Or should the NHS be patrolling Yahoo Answers?
I'd love to know your thoughts and feel free to share any stories. But remember this is a public site and others will be able to read it after you!
EDIT: After Fi's comment below I feel I should add that I think it is unlikely that patients will find a diagnosis online but they should in a sense get good triage information. Is this a serious symptom that I need to go to the doctor with, or can I leave it for a few months to see if it goes away?
I've blogged about fear of Dr Google before. We should be helping Dr Google to perform better, and we should be able to give guidance to patients on where they can get sensible information online.

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