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Half of employees relying on ‘Dr Google’ before seeing a doctor

A quarter ‘don’t have time’ for regular health checks

Nearly half (43%) of office workers look up their symptoms online before going to the doctor, a poll shows.

This is despite the same number admitting that reading about their symptoms online makes them feel more nervous about going.

The survey of 4,000 employees in the UK, US, UAE Singapore reveals this is more than double the 20% who claimed looking up symptoms online makes them feel more confident.

Aetna International’s research also found 23% don’t have time to attend regular health checks.

23%…

…of employees don’t have time
to attend regular health checks

Source: Aetna International

However, 35% said the ability to book consultations via an app or online service would make them more likely to go to the doctor, while 33% would be more likely to visit a health professional if they had the ability to view their personal health data via an app or online service. 

Dr Sneh Khemka, senior vice president, population health solutions and vHealth at Aetna International, argued that the onus is on big tech giants such as Google to make sure they are curating results that come from validated, reliable sources of information.

The research found that despite 40% of workers revealing they are worried about their long-term health, the same proportion haven’t had a health check in the last year and a significant number have no idea about simple measures of health, such as cholesterol levels.

Most workers acknowledged they could do more to improve their health, with 55% admitting their diet needs improvement and 72% saying they need to exercise more.

“More should be done to empower people to manage their own health, with a focus on changing company cultures to promote prevention and early intervention. It is not only the responsibility of the employee but that of the employer to ensure people are equipped to lead healthy lives,” said Khemka. 

The research suggests increasing pressure in the workplace is having a significant impact on how people prioritise their health.

Almost half (47%) said they often feel stressed because of work but don’t see a healthcare professional about the issue.

A third said they don’t have time to be ill at work and 21% cited lack of time off from work as the reason behind their health inertia.