Yes, I get a few.
Everyone is entitled to come to their nurse for a discussion about their worries with their health and I can signpost them to the GP with their concerns or if they are wanting investigations. I am not able to authorise tests so sometimes my hands are tied to help them straight away, but I can provide reassurance and go through their information they’ve googled and see if it’s accurate or not.
Not too many where I work, but its getting more common – Dr Google! You have take their concerns seriously and go through their symptoms and fear of what they might have.
Then its back to basics – history, examination, investigation, diagnosis, plan.
The tricky bit is if you disagree about whether a referral to a “specialist” is needed or a “scan”. Luckily as you get more experienced that becomes easier to manage.
Yes – it’s great that patients are interested in finding out more about their symptoms and I’m happy to discuss their research. However some websites are more accurate than others so I try to point them in the direction of helpful information like Patient UK and the NHS website.
My GP’s do tell me that the internet can be a big problem for them if patients come in stating that they have a particular problem and what they need to cure it. I believe the GP’s will listen to their concerns but then try and do the normal investigations to either confirm google’s diagnosis or show that it is not correct.
It can be a really helpful thing and get people to seek help about things that have been worrying them. I also use the internet to support my patients in helping themselves. I sometimes point out that “Google” will give you the most popular answers, not necessarily the right ones! There are some really excellent websites out there and the internet definitely has a bigger role to play in the future of GP.