According to research by Telstra* more than 60 per cent of Australians head online to research information before going to the doctor. Forty per cent say 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 amidst health concerns like the Swine Flu 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.
BigPond Health is Australia’s leading online health information site. There are more than 22,000 pages across the site with expert information supplied by more than 1,000 medical specialists.
Dr Kosterich said there were a couple of things people could do if they wanted to check the credibility of the health information contained on the website.
1. 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.
2. Be wary of sites that offer cures or appear to be geared to selling products.
3. Look for sites, like BigPond Health, that provide comments from a range of qualified medical doctors.
BigPond Health was founded eight years ago by Western Australian cancer specialist Dr Andrew Dean, to deliver much needed cancer information to his patients. At times of stress, when people have been devastated by a positive diagnosis of cancer or a life threatening disease, information retention is at its poorest. The website was initially set up as a resource for patients to understand more about their condition to allow them and their carers to better cope.
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.
To find out more, visit: http://www.bigpondhealth.com/
* This research was conducted online by Pure Profile on behalf of Telstra in May, 2009 on a
representative sample of 1,201 Australians, both male and female, from around the country – in both
metropolitan and regional areas.