Online Symptom Checker Decision Guide

About online symptom checker decision guide

Symptoms and diagnosis book project started with a goal of teaching medical facts to patients so that they can understand and make sense of their symptoms. It differs from other patient education projects in the depth and complexity of knowledge offered to the patients. Traditionally, symptoms and diagnoses are thought to be just simple discrete entities that can be matched to each other. The symptoms of a disease are usually represented by a list that has the most common symptoms listed in a order of occurrence. Most computerized algorithm used by online symptom checkers just match those lists. You input your symptoms and the computer matches them with the list and picks the diagnosis with highest match. However, that is not the best way to make correct medical diagnosis.

Symptoms and Diagnosis book project’s main aim is to teach medical facts to the patients so that they can relate how they feel with what happens inside their bodies. This is achieved by using the same true and tested method used to teach medicine to medical students and residents —using case examples to show how real diseases are diagnosed based on what happened to patients that had those diseases. This process is based on using the unique features of any particular symptom and the particular circumstances that lead to that symptom. This unique story is then analyzed using the knowledge of how internal body organs work in disease and health. This is the proper way to find the correct diagnosis using your unique symptom and your unique situation.

When I started writing the book, I had each case reviewed by colleagues in both medical and non-medical fields to test how useful and practical they are. I was very encouraged by the results. Our friends in web design and web developments were so impressed that they wanted to create a different type of online symptom checker that uses the method of the book to help analyze symptoms. After 3 years in making, the book is almost ready to be published and our online symptom checker project took a slightly different direction.

We did not just want to create another online symptom checker that uses computer algorithm to match your symptoms with list of diagnoses. We wanted to give you a decision guide that will help you make critical decisions when facing a new symptom. This decision guide will not focus on discrete individual symptoms but look at the bigger picture and tell you what would be the next logical step. There are several good online symptom checkers out there that can match individual symptoms with diseases. At times, it makes sense to use those symptom checkers to analyze your symptoms. However, there are times when you should not waste your time with them because time is critical when facing a serious illness. Our decision guide will help you decide when you should use online symptom checkers and when you should take other actions.

Our online symptom checker decision guide will be very different from the traditional online symptom checkers and it will have a very different goal. It will not give you a list of possible diagnoses but it will give you suggestions about what you may need to do next. It will be the starting place to make some critical decisions about what to do with your symptoms. Our online symptom checker will be designed to suggest the possible acuity, seriousness and urgency of your symptoms. It will suggest some practical ways you can proceed after using our online symptom checker decision guide. In some cases, it may suggest you to call 911 right away; in other cases, it may suggest you to get your blood pressure checked. In certain cases, it may decide that your symptom may not be urgent or life threatening and recommend using traditional online symptom checker to analyze it at ease.

Please check back shortly for the actual release date of our online symptom checker decision guide. In the meantime, please review these blog posts about online symptom checkers. Our online symptom checker decision guide will summarize and simplify this information in an easy to use algorithm that will help you make critical decisions.


Overview of traditional online symptom checkers: the basics things you need to know

When not to use online symptom checkers

Your hunch vs online symptom checker, which one should you trust?

Testing online symptom checkers: A 62 year old female with nausea, decreased appetite and leg weakness

Testing online symptom checkers: 48 year old male with severe abdominal pain