By: Paulina Hoong
NORTHFIELD, MN — An external study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health found that on average, the medical information website WebMD accurately diagnosed medical conditions 86% better than the nurse practitioners at Carleton’s Student Health and Counseling.
The study’s findings were found consistent with student experiences. Student Jason Yu said, “Last week, I came into SHAC because I had a fever. The people at SHAC told me that I had ebola and sent me back to Goodhue with some salt packets. However, I went to WebMD after my appointment, and it told me that my fever was probably a symptom of the flu. Just in case, I went to the hospital to check if I had ebola, but the doctor agreed with WebMD and diagnosed me with the flu.”
Loretta Danby, a nurse practitioner from SHAC, elaborated on the methodology of their diagnoses. “When I leave the patient in the exam room alone for a few minutes, I’m actually just Googling the symptoms. I use a wide range of sources to diagnose my patients, including KidsHealth.com, Yahoo Answers, and Merriam-Webster, and Mac Rumors. I’ve learned that these four sites yield the most effective diagnoses.”
After student complaints that SHAC was no better than a phone app, SHAC announced on Tuesday that they would implement using WebMD as a fifth source of information when treating students.