Q:

Are medical symptom checkers accurate?

A:

Quick Answer

Online medical symptom checkers are only accurate about one-third of the time in the first diagnosis, according to a Harvard Medical School study reported by CBS News and NPR News in 2015. The accuracy percentages rise with a greater number of suggestions.

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Full Answer

About half of the online medical symptom checks include the right diagnosis among the top three suggestions, while two-thirds of the checks include the right diagnosis within the top 20 suggestions. However, getting advice as to whether to see a doctor quickly is more important than the diagnosis. The broad range of diagnoses given by symptom checkers may lead patients to seek unnecessary care, notes NPR News.

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