The Internet and Cyberchondria
A Doctor’s Nightmare

By Doctor Rap

Byteing_Words_CyberchondriaTypical Doctor’s Visit in the Pre-Internet Era…

Patient: “Doc, I’ve been having [describes symptoms].”

Doctor: “Okay, let’s a take a look.”

(Doctor performs examination.)

Doctor: “I believe you have [names a complex condition].”

Patient: “Whoa! That sounds pretty expensive. Do you have anything cheaper?”

Doctor: “Well, we could go with [names a simpler condition]. That’s about half the cost.”

Patient: “I’ll take it.”


Typical Doctor’s Visit in the Internet Era…

Patient: “Doc, I’ve been having [describes symptoms].”

Doctor: “Okay, let’s take a look.”

Patient: “That’s not necessary. I know what’s wrong with me, and I know the treatment because I did an Internet search. I’m only here because I can’t write prescriptions.”

Doctor: “I’m not sure that an Internet search is the same as graduating from medical school, going through residency, passing certification boards and practicing medicine, so I’d like to take a wild stab at a diagnosis.”

Patient: “Okay, but I still think it’s a waste of time.”

Doctor: “We’ll see.”

(Then the doctor types in the symptoms and does an Internet search on WebMD. [Hah! Just kidding, Well, not entirely.] Doctor performs examination.)

Doctor: “You have a slight case of [names a simple condition].”

Patient: “I beg to differ. I have a severe case of [names a rare, complex condition].

Doctor: “No, you have a severe case of cyberchondria.”

Patient: “What’s that?”

Doctor: “That’s the unfounded belief you have some horrible disease based on an Internet search. My advice is to get plenty of rest and stay off of medical websites.”


Typical Doctor’s Visit in the Post-Internet Era…

Patient: “Doc, I’ve been—”

Robo-doc: “Please enter your symptoms.”

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