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Patient Self Diagnosis: Good or Bad?

Have you ever had a friend or family member ask you your thoughts about a symptom they had, or even just googled a symptom for a self diagnosis?  At Kansas City Bone and Joint Clinic, a few of our own practitioners came together to discuss their perceptions regarding the worldwide web, how congested it can become with false information, and how it could lead to patients feeling confused and anxious before their appointments. 

Dr. Michael Warner, a critical care specialist and chief medical officer for Ask the Doctor states, “These online searches can have negative impacts. Patients who use these sites to search their symptoms may have convinced themselves that they have a certain condition, this may lead them to ignore symptoms that don’t fit with what they feel they have. This is known as confirmation bias.”  Dr. Laptop self diagnosis


Of those asked, 41% of online diagnoses were confirmed by a medical provider and an additional 2% say a medical professional partially confirmed their research.  We decided to ask our own Physicians and Physician Assistants at KCBJ and here’s what they had to say.




“A majority of my patients have researched their symptoms before coming in to get a better idea of what to expect and what not to expect, it’s definitely a good starting point!” –Dr. McNamara


“What I have seen with my patients is that it’s a good way to get a real grasp of the anatomy, and a better idea of what is common and uncommon. Patients feel relieved that a surgical route is sometimes not the only route, there are options.”-Cameron Reyes-Hunt, PA-C


The providers at Kansas City Bone and Joint Clinic want their patients to have access to safe and reliable information.  It is recommended to use reputable organizations, such as AAOS and ASSH, to research your symptoms or condition.  All of our patients at KCBJ have access to a Patient Portal, allowing them to utilize the Ask A Staff service. This enables the patient to ask questions to the nurse team, send pictures of wound healing to the providers, or request prescription refills for medications or therapy!


Our providers have also been key in developing a reliable resource on our website for patients to utilize when seeking clarity and understanding of their conditions.  As always, has a large volume of reliable, doctor approved information about common conditions that we treat.  You can also use our search function to easily search for conditions, or browse by body part!


Remember- when in doubt call us at 913-381-5225 to schedule an appointment.  Our Overland Park urgent care clinic, OrthoNow!, is also available on weekdays from 3-8 pm for all non-chronic conditions.






Written by Makenzie Mullen