How Doctors Use Google

We posted before that patients trust Google almost as much as their physician, now let's take a look at how doctors themselves use Google. Not surprisingly, they too, find the search giant results very useful.

Kevin MD and California Medicine Man have good summaries on Google use by doctors, and I will add a little bit of my experience as well.

Clinical Images

Google Image Search is very helpful, especially when you are reading on some "dry" subject from a book without illustrations. Also, you can check out the web page that Google shows below the image (when you click on it). Sometimes this can lead you to very interesting websites which are otherwise hidden on page 20-30 from the regular search results. We are all visual creatures and clinical images are definitely helpful.

The image search was one of the reasons we started the Clinical Cases and Images project to share typical and not-so-typical cases. It was very rewarding to find the clinical images that we posted (like cardiac tamponade) on Google and Yahoo searches.

Scholar Search

Google Scholar employs the same page rank algorithm used by Google to weigh the significance of a particular article. The problem with the Scholar is that it lags behind PubMed in updates. For example, if you search for a topic and the article was published several months ago, it will not appear in Scholar but it will show up in PubMed. Anyway, search for "scholar" and Google Scholar will be the first hit on both Yahoo and Google.

Use Medical Terms in the Search Query

Using "differential" or other medical terms to sort out the commercial websites is very helpful. The other option is to go by the source, like "search term" + "NEJM", "AFP", "Merck manual", "eMedicine", etc., just like Kevin mentions it in his post.

Follow-up of the story: How Do Doctors Use Google - Blogosphere Impact

Update 3/28/2007:

Adam Bosworth, Vice President of Engineering at Google Inc. covers similar topics in: How do you know you're getting the best care possible?

More people consult Google over health - Times Online
How do I use Google? - part 1 and part 2- Kevin, MD
Some Great Google Tips - California Medicine Man
Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask - UC Berkeley
Image source: Doctors Using Google by Philipp Lenssen, used with permission


  1. see how what google search modified for doctors can do at

  2. Hello Doctor
    I am an entrepreneur and I have been developing software for many years now.
    I was thinking of getting into document imaging for health care, something like Laserfiche.
    Do you see document imaging as a way for practices to implement digitization of patient records?


  3. great info you have here.