Online self-diagnoses may be quick, but they’re wrong most of the time, study says

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CAMBRIDGE, MA – Playing doctor should be left to the kids, in an ideal world, of course. At times, we have to be our own physician and try to heal ourselves.

Sometimes we go online to look up what’s wrong.

It’s called self-diagnosis. But real doctors say, not so fast.

A Harvard University study found that patients got the wrong information 66 percent of the time when they went online for the first time to check on the average illness.

But what happens when you see a real doctor about a real problem? Turns out the odds may be against you.

Back in 2013, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine gave an online test for fictitious conditions.

They found the doctors got the diagnosis wrong 95 percent of the time for difficult cases, and 45 percent of the time for easier cases.

Some medical smarty-pants scoffed at the results, saying it was an online test on fake patients and that the doctors would do better with real patients.

We’d like to believe that’s true, otherwise we could get about the same treatment playing doctor and not have to make an appointment.