Study: Ohioans heading to their computers instead of their docto - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Study: Ohioans heading to their computers instead of their doctors

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In the new age of digital and social media, it's easier than ever to become a "cyberchondriac". 

That's what health experts are calling the increasing prevalence of skipping the doctor's office because patients found a diagnosis online. 

A new study, conducted by The Tinker Law Firm, found that more than one-third of all Ohioans admit that they consult a search engine, or online web doctor service, instead of their physician. 

But Ohio is still well below the national average- which the study says is nearly 45%. Pennsylvania, on the other hand, is slightly above the average; an estimated 45.7% of patients will self-diagnose online before heading to their doctor's office. 

Nationally, the survey also found that 30% of Americans use home remedies to deal with health issues, perhaps to avoid high medical costs, or because of busy lifestyles. Though only 30% said they use home remedies, interestingly, 41% of Americans said they believe in homeopathic solutions.

The survey revealed that it is women who are more likely to self-diagnose, with 36% of women using home remedies over a doctor, compared to 29% of men.

Internet diagnosis is a trend that apparently carries over to parenting- 1 in 5 parents admit that they would consult the internet regarding their children's symptoms before going to see a doctor. However, the study says men were much more likely to use the internet to diagnose a child (32% compared to 12%). 

While the studies aren't connected, a 2013 study conducted by the Pew Research Center suggested similar results. In that report, 35% of adults say they used the internet to try to diagnose a medical condition.

The question remains if internet diagnosing is a good thing. The Tinker study suggested that 15% of adults admitted that searching for their symptoms on the internet caused increased stress levels. 

According to the Pew Study, only 41% of those who self-diagnosed using an online search engine had their diagnosis confirmed by a doctor. 

The Journal of the American Medical Association conducted a study in 2016 to determine if online and app-based medical tools were as accurate as physicians. Though the study concluded that physicians have a general 10-15% error rate, it was determined that more research was needed on the correlation of online-based medical tools accuracy in self-diagnosis. 

Tinker Law Firm created an Interactive map which can be found here. 

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