herald

Sunday 20 August 2017

Young people go to Google if they feel sick

Online diagnosis
Online diagnosis

Young people are turning to Google for information about an illness rather than ask their doctor, a new survey shows.

Some 49pc of people aged 15 to 34 said their first port of call when looking for information on a medical condition is to look it up online.

Young people were also least likely to ask a doctor, nurse or pharmacist to explain things they do not understand.

Embarrassment ranked high as one of the factors discouraging people in this age group from asking for more details.

The study, conducted on behalf of healthcare company MSD and the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA), also demonstrated a need for GPs to drop medical jargon when dealing with patients.

Two in five people called for doctors and pharmacists to speak in plainer terms when discussing a diagnosis and medication needs.

Around a fifth of respondents called for a more informal conversational tone in communications between healthcare professionals and patients.

Meanwhile, 18pc of those questioned cited a need for GPs and pharmacists to take more time to explain things.

A lack of understanding can have serious implications when people leave the pharmacy or surgery, according to researchers, with 17pc of people saying they had taken the wrong dose of medication at least once.

chronic

"One in three people today are living with a chronic condition that requires self-management with the support of a healthcare professional," junior minister Kathleen Lynch said.

To encourage professionals to eliminate jargon, the Crystal Clear Pharmacy mark has been rolled out to encourage taking into account a patient's numeracy and literacy skills when discussing medical care.

hnews@herald.ie

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