Google searches help with diagnosis in dermatology

Montassar Amri, Kaliyadan Feroz

Abstract


Background Several previous studies have tried to assess the usefulness of Google search as a diagnostic aid. The results were discordant and have led to controversies.

Objectives To investigate how often Google search is helpful to reach correct diagnoses in dermatology.

Methods Two fifth-year students (A and B) and one demonstrator (C) have participated as investigators in this paper. Twenty-five diagnostic dermatological cases were selected from all the clinical cases published in the Web only images in clinical medicine from March 2005 to November 2009. The main outcome measure of our paper was to compare the number of correct diagnoses provided by the investigators without, and with Google search.

Results Investigator A gave correct diagnoses in 9/25 (36%) cases without Google search, his diagnostic success after Google search was 18/25 (72%). Investigator B results were 11/25 (44%) correct diagnoses without Google search, and 19/25 (76%) after this search. For investigator C, the results were 12/25 (48%) without Google search, and 18/25 (72%) after the use of this tool. Thus, the total correct diagnoses provided by the three investigators were 32 (42.6%) without Google search, and 55 (73.3%) when using this facility. The difference was statistically significant between the total number of correct diagnoses given by the three investigators without, and with Google search (p = 0.0002).

Conclusion In the light of our paper, Google search appears to be an interesting diagnostic aid in dermatology. However, we emphasize that diagnosis is primarily an art based on clinical skills and experience.


Keywords


Diagnosis; dermatology; Google search

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14236/jhi.v21i2.52

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