Most of us think we make good doctors

at 09:54 AM ET, 05/16/2012

Getting a medical degree is not easy: It requires 10 years of medical education and 16,000 hours of clinical experience to get certified to provide treatment. Even so, most of us think we can make equally as good diagnoses as our doctors—as long as we have a little help from
(Christopher Furlong - GETTY IMAGES)

A Wolters Kluwer poll out this morning finds that not only are most consumers turning to the Internet to answer medical questions, but that they also put strong faith in their own diagnosis. Among college educated Americans, 63 percent say they have “never” misdiagnosed themselves. Add in those who have say they’ve “rarely” made a wrong call and the number jumps up to 84 percent.

As for why all the Googling? About one-third of Americans say it has to do with access issues, and not wanting to wait to see a doctor, while another 23 percent argue that they can do just as good, if not better, than their physician in figuring out what ails them.

Among those who do self-diagnosis, not everyone will head to a doctor for a second (or, really, first) opinion: 23 percent of those surveyed indicate they do not discuss their self diagnosis with their doctor.

Unfortunately, this poll does not have information on the accuracy of self-diagnoses, whether the 63 percent who are certain they cracked their medical case actually did. If they do tend to be right though, that might be one step towards holding down health care costs, with individuals doing a bit more of the legwork before taking a trip to the doctor’s office.

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