Paging Dr. Google: The Effect of Online Health Information on Trust in Pediatricians’ Diagnoses

N. Sood
D. E. Jimenez
T. B. Pham
K. Cordrey
N. Awadalla
R. Milanaik, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

Abstract

© The Author(s) 2019. This study investigates how parental trust in physician diagnoses and likelihood of seeking a second opinion (SO) are affected by Internet sources. In an anonymous survey, 1374 parents of minors viewed a vignette describing their child’s symptoms followed by Internet results that either supported or contradicted the pediatrician’s diagnosis (Dx). A control group did not view any Internet results. After learning the Dx, participants rated trust in the Dx and likelihood of seeking a SO on a 7-point Likert-type scale. Participants who viewed contradicting results were less likely to trust the Dx (P <.001) and more likely to seek a SO than the control (P <.001). Participants who viewed supporting results were more likely to trust the Dx (P <.001) and less likely to seek a SO than the control (P <.001). Physicians must be aware of the influence the Internet may have on patients’ trust.