While I don’t think using Google to self diagnose is a good idea, it can give patients access to a lot of helpful, practical information about medical conditions, treatments, drugs and alternative therapies.
Google can help generate a list of questions to bring to the physician or surgeon so patients can be as informed as possible when selecting a treatment modality.
The problem, of course, is there is usually too much information, and much of that is useless or even harmful. It might be scientifically inaccurate and/or trying to sell a questionable product.
But I just discovered Google Scholar! I can’t believe I wasn’t aware of it before this.
What is Google Scholar?
Google Scholar is a search engine that specifically searches academic resources. It
provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.
It’s more like looking through the shelves at a medical school library.
Results are ranked, like regular Google, but not so dependent on search engine optimization (SEO)—a driving force behind the commercialization of Google rankings.
Google Scholar aims to rank documents the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each document, where it was published, who it was written by, as well as how often and how recently it has been cited in other scholarly literature.
You can feel a little more secure that the purely commercial or wackadoodle websites have been weeded out already.
Related post: Seeking reliable health care information
Google Scholar has settings that can be adjusted to your specific searches. For example, I chose not to include case law results.
Because looking through a list of more academic listings can be confusing at first glance, Google Scholar also has helpful search tips.
I can’t wait to try it!