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‘Doctor Internet’ a go-to source for 1/6 people in B.C.: poll

It’s not uncommon to surf the web for a possible diagnosis when feeling under the weather, but some British Columbians are relying on the internet to treat a medical condition, avoiding doctors all together.

That’s according to a new Research Co. poll released this week that found 16 per cent of respondents have gone online to determine a diagnosis without any consultation from a trained doctor.

Meanwhile, 35 per cent said they looked online to gather information before and after visiting their doctor.

“There is a generational gap when it comes to British Columbians who combine information from the internet with a trip to the general practitioner,” Research Co. president Mario Canseco said in a news release.

“Millennials are more likely to conduct research before they see their doctor, while baby boomers are more likely to go online after their visit.”

The poll also found who searches for what kinds of health-related matters vary based on age and gender.

While 41 per cent of all respondents said they’ve sought information about prescription drugs online over the past year, the proportion climbs to 49 per cent among those aged 55 and over.

Roughly 23 per cent turned to the web for information about mental health, including 32 per cent of those aged 18 to 32.

Millennials are also more likely to search online for information about sexual health, almost double the provincial average of 18 per cent.

When it comes to alternative or experimental treatments, 22 per cent said they dove into online research, with 35 per cent from northern B.C.


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