Study Finds WebMD Diagnosis Accuracy Rate Higher Than SHAC

By: Paulina Hoong

Image courtesy of and 


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, 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.