Google searches help with diagnosis in dermatology

Montassar Amri, Kaliyadan Feroz


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.


Diagnosis; dermatology; Google search

Full Text:



Falgas ME, Ntziora F, Makris GC, Malietzis GA and Rafailidis PI. Do PubMed and Google searches help medical students and young doctors reach the correct diagnosis? A pilot study. European Journal of Internal Medicine 2009;20:788–90. PMid:19892310.

Tang H and Ng JH. Googling for a diagnosis—use of Google as a diagnostic aid: internet based study. BMJ 2006;333:1143–5. PMid:17098763; PMCid:PMC1676146.

Bowen JL. Educational strategies to promote clinical diagnostic reasoning. The New England Journal of Medicine 2006; 355:2217–25. PMid:17124019.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

This is an open access journal, which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or their institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal starting from Volume 21 without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open accessFor permission regarding papers published in previous volumes, please contact us.

Privacy statement: The names and email addresses entered in this journal site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.

Online ISSN 2058-4563 - Print ISSN 2058-4555. Published by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT