Saturday 24 September 2016

One in eight misdiagnoses their illness on the internet

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Published 24/06/2015 | 02:30

10 Years of Healthcare in Ireland 2005 - 2015
10 Years of Healthcare in Ireland 2005 - 2015

One in eight people admit to misdiagnosing their illness using the internet, a new survey has revealed.

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The Pfizer index, which has been tracking health trends and behaviour for a decade, said women aged 25 to 35 years were most likely to admit getting it wrong using an online source.

It reveals there is a growing reliance on the internet and 'Dr Google' as a source of health information, with 44pc of the population going online for this purpose.

Some 14pc say that they feel it is generally beneficial.

The index also looked at the role of technology in healthcare and found 22pc of people reported using a self-monitoring app, with two-thirds of us monitoring exercise followed by nutrition, calorie counting, sleep and medical use.

More than one in two people who used the devices said that the app helped them to live more healthily.

The report shows that only 22pc believe that Ireland has left austerity behind, but there is also evidence people think the tide is turning.

The fundamental recession impact score has dropped to 34pc from a high of 49pc in 2011.

One in three now feels they are "getting over financial difficulties".

Overall, the under-25s and the 35- to 49-year-olds are the most positive.

More than one in two also believes that health cuts were deeper than in social welfare and education.

Elsewhere, people are becoming increasingly positive about their personal health, with 84pc describing it as "excellent or very good".

More people are also attending preventative screening programmes for conditions such as cancer, cholesterol and blood pressure.

However, the incidence of people self-reporting that they are living with a health condition increased from 33pc in 2005 to 38pc in 2015.

Dr Charles Normand, chair of Health Policy and Management at Trinity College, said that "despite Ireland officially being out of recession, it was clear that people were still feeling the impact of austerity".

"This impacts on their personal finances and this is impacting on healthcare in general," he said.

"While we are now seeing an increase in the numbers of people with private medical insurance, and more people are becoming eligible for free GP care, there is still 25pc of our population who pay the full cost of primary care and have access only to public hospital services."

The index involved 63 randomly selected sampling locations.

Interviewing was undertaken face-to-face and in people's homes.

Irish Independent

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