Google Snoops Know If You’re About To Go To The ER

“How big is a walnut?”

| Your searches tell when you’re about to go to the emergency room

| Christina Farr, CNBC – A new study from researchers at Penn Medicine found that in the week before an emergency room visit, patients conduct nearly three times as many health-related searches, or 16 percent of their total.

Google has previously disclosed that about 1 in 20 searches, or 5 percent, are for health information …

The research is still early, but the team behind it sees a lot of potential in using data like this to figure out who’s likely to get sick, so hospitals can better prepare for them.

“This might help us anticipate the demand of patients entering the hospital,” said Penn Medicine’s Jeremy Asch, one of the researchers involved with the study.

Asch said that about 15 percent of people searched for the nearest emergency department or the hours and location, and people often searched for health-related terms on several occasions before going to the hospital.

The researchers also noticed some communication gaps by comparing the Google searches to the notes in the patient’s medical record.

For instance, one patient who searched, “how big is a walnut?” and “what is a fibrous tumor?”

The researchers said that the patient had been informed by a doctor that she had a fibrous tumor the size of a walnut.

She apparently didn’t understand her condition, and she had to turn to Google to look it up. Read more. 

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