Choosing Between A.I. Health Assistants & Online Symptom Checkers

80% of adults have searched the internet when sick. Read about the perils of self-diagnosis and how A.I. health assistants can help you make educated decisions.

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  1. The Perils of Self-Diagnosis Through Online Search
  2. What are Online Symptom Checkers?
  3. Real-Life Stories
  4. What is an A.I. Health Assistant?
  5. So, Which Is the Solution for You?
  6. Related Articles

Just about everyone's done it. Whether it was a crushing headache, a pain in the knee, a swollen toe or blurry vision, chances are your first instinct was to turn to the web for answers. In fact, more than 80% of adults in the United States have searched the internet in attempts to figure out what was making them feel ill and how to make the pain subside. There's no denying that taking medical diagnosis into our own hands is a growing trend that shows no signs of waning. But, although internet access has provided the opportunity to access copious health information in just seconds, this access has made it more important than ever to be able to discern which sources are credible, how to have a critical eye when scanning online info, and when it's time to walk away from the screen and consult an experienced physician.

What are Online Symptom Checkers?

Online symptom checkers are websites or apps specifically dedicated to helping people track down the root cause of the symptoms they are experiencing. They amalgamate research on an incredibly wide variety of health topics, typically making sure that it is well-researched and sourced from credible publications. Because of their typical trustworthiness and general comprehensiveness, online symptom checkers reduce some of the issues that come with just turning to Google for health information. Namely, they help searchers by providing them with accurate descriptions of health conditions and by giving them a wide variety of credible options to consider.

Online symptom checkers typically take the form of long web pages with detailed lists of potential causes for common symptoms. Because of this format, their comprehensive nature can work against them. They can yield scores of potential conditions in response to input from information-hungry individuals, overwhelming searches and making it difficult for them to figure out which of the listed options most closely resembles their condition.

Individuals with emergency life-threatening conditions who correctly identify the condition linked to their symptoms may find an extra impetus to go to the ER based on the results from on online symptom checker. However, if they incorrectly choose to believe they are suffering from a milder option on the cause list, their condition could worsen significantly. On the other end of the spectrum, people with minor health problems may be advised to go to the ER unnecessarily, resulting in needless increases in time and costs for both the hospital and the patient.

So, what's the best course of action for those who want to research their condition without falling prey to the inaccuracies of the internet at large or the paranoia-inducing tendencies of typical online symptom checkers? Perhaps the answer is to avail themselves of the newer version of online symptom checker — the A.I. Health Assistant.

Real-life Stories

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A.I. Health Assistant

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What is an A.I. Health Assistant?

A.I. Health Assistants are an emerging diagnosis technology that is enhanced by artificial intelligence (A.I.). Such a system can be of better service by leveraging advanced machine learning algorithms to deliver a more personalized and accurate analysis of what the medical problem could be.

Unlike typical online symptom checkers that use simplistic decision trees to diagnose what may be wrong, the A.I. health assistant uses an advanced machine learning algorithm that incorporates a person's real time answers to targeted, information-generated questions to more quickly and accurately identify the potential health condition. For example, an A.I. Health Assistant may ask a searcher for their gender, age, race, and other demographic information in order to only surface possible diagnosis options that someone in that specific group is likely to experience. Through this methodology, surfaced possibilities can be narrowed down to 3 conditions, rather than an overwhelming 25.

A.I. Health Assistants also improve upon traditional online symptom checkers through one other major factor: over time, the program educates itself based on the accuracy of past diagnoses and continues to better the quality of the information it provides users. By having searchers check back in about the accuracy of the diagnoses provided to them, the A.I. technology recalibrates the chances of surfacing certain diagnoses again in similar search queries. This means that by using an A.I. Health Assistant, you are not only getting more accurate results because of someone else's input, but also helping refine the information and make it more accurate for users who proceed you.

So, Which Is the Solution for You?

Online symptom checkers and those that are integrated with an A.I. Health Assistant both provide more information to individuals seeking answers to an ongoing or immediate health concern. And both are superior than a simple internet search in terms of accurate, helpful results. But it's important to remember that they are only a starting point that leads to more informed consequent action, rather than a final solution.

However, when it comes to selecting just a single online resource, A.I. Health Assistants take the lead. Check out the chart below for a handy round-up of the advantages of both online options.

Online Symptom CheckerAI Health Assistant
Provides wide range of potential conditions to queriesProvides narrow, targeted range of potential conditions to queries
Can positively influence the timing of seeking medical help for symptomsCan positively influence the timing of seeking medical help for symptoms
Can facilitate patient-physician communicationCan facilitate patient-physician communication
Can help assess severity of potential conditionCan help assess severity of potential condition
Can help identify next steps to be takenPoses targeted, thorough questions to submitted responses
Can help identify next steps to be taken
Can understand real world language (rather than medical language) used in queries
Provides quick analysis of responses to queries

A.I. Health Assistant

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