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More than 60 percent of Australians head online to research for information on their symptoms or sickness before heading to their local GP. According to Telstra, 40 percent said that they did so to avoid feared embarrassment of talking to a doctor.

BigPond Health’s Virtual Medical Centre, Dr Joe Kosterich said it wasn’t surprising that the public looked to the internet for more information.

“It’s encouraging to see consumers taking an active interest in their health. It’s important that as a community we’re informed, but if you’re concerned, seek advice from a doctor. There’s information online that, once you have your diagnosis, can provide you with a deeper understanding. If your doctor delivers news that’s devastating, shock can make it difficult to hear or retain information, and it’s easy to feel dazed, confused and uninformed.”

“The internet can provide information written by a range of doctors, including specialists from a range of different areas including oncology, gastroenterology and cardiology,” Dr Kosterich said.

 

He said that there were a couple of things people could do if they wanted to check the credibility of the health information contained on the website.

  • If you don’t know who wrote the information or produced the site, give it a miss – there’s no way to confirm or deny its validity. 
  • Be wary of sites that offer cures or appear to be geared to selling products. 
  • Look for sites, like BigPond Health, that provide comments from a range of qualified medical doctors.

Telstra’s Group Managing Director, Justin Milne said, “The internet offers a great way to find further information – but no matter how embarrassed you feel, if you have genuine reasons to be concerned, visit your GP.”

BigPond Health has 19 categories with current medical information featuring a range of issues from prescription drugs to diseases and symptoms, treatment, medical trials, the latest research and news as well as providing support online to patients.

See www.bigpondhealth.com for more information.

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