Quality of information related to diagnosis and treatment of physical disease or injuries found on web searches could be hazardous to health, shown in a new study.
University of Florida researchers said that, web searches related to physical disease or injuries tend to yield higher-quality information than online searches for preventive health and social health information, and when it comes to health information, search results may vary.
Study co-author Christopher A. Harle said that based on their research, health consumers and patients may feel assured that they can find some high-quality health information when using a search engine but consumers and patients should know that searches for some health topics, such as nutrition or fitness, may result in more information that is potentially of lower quality.
The study is crucial as according to research from the Pew Research Center, more than 60 percent of American adults look for health information online, and six out of 10 people in this group report that their most recent search influenced their health-related decisions.
The findings appeared in the January issue of the journal Decision Support Systems.