Do’s & Don’ts for Consulting ‘Dr. Google’

DENTON -- Let's say you wake up one morning feeling a little... off.  If you're like us, you probably hop online to try and figure out what horrible disease you're dying of, right?

And you're not alone!  Just ask Dr. Heather Bartos, MD.  She's on the medical staff at Texas Health Denton, and says she often finds herself competing with "Dr. Google" in the eyes of patients.

"We'll have the ones that have looked it up before they ever come and see us," Bartos said.  "And then we'll have people who will see us, go home and kind of check our facts against Google, and then come back and try to see who's right."

All too often, those patients trust the internet more than the professionals.

"We're seeing it more and more," said Dr. Bartos.  "I think there's just a general mistrust throughout the public of all professionals.  We have to have implicit trust in the doctor-patient relationship or it just doesn't work."

Of course, the web can be a great resource if you look in the right places.

Here are Dr. Bartos' recommendations: "Up To Date, WebMD, EMedicine.  These are all legitimate websites that have been vetted by medical specialists in all areas."

But other places... not so much, for a variety of reasons.

"Some of the advice that's out there is very old, it's outdated," said Bartos. "Some of them are run out of people's garages, and some of these people will not have any kind of medical background at all.  And a lot of them are trying to sell you something.  'Ignore your doctor, we can fix the problem.'  Any time it makes an outrageous claim, it's probably just, as we say, too good to be true.  You know when you come in for an office visit, we're not trying to just sell you a lot of products, we're trying to get you to feel better."

And that's a lot easier without a bunch of questionable advice around to confuse you.

"At the end of the day, just asking your doctor about their evidence and why they chose something for you is probably the best," Bartos said, "

Hey, if you can't trust your doctor, who can you trust?