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Patient, heal thyself

Googling your symptoms can be helpful. Doctors and patients should be more upfront about using online resources

As a GP working in a digitally connected era, I find there’s one thing above all that patients tend to apologise for doing. They worry that I disapprove of them looking up their symptoms on the internet. Yet this couldn’t be further from the truth.

GPs spend a lot of time thinking about how best to structure consultations. The key to a successful consultation is not just identifying physical symptoms, but also determining a patient’s state of mind—and crucially, trying to discover his or her secret worries.

These are the anxious, intrusive thoughts that send people downstairs to their computers…

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