With websites like WebMD providing free medical advice and symptom diagnosis, as well as sites like legalzoom.com doing the same for any law based needs. Why would anyone ever need an actual expert nowadays? Short answer, because nothing can truly replace doctors and lawyers, or a person that has spent a good portion of their lives devoted to becoming an expert.
Experts have kept people alive and out of jail for years. Many people believe only a fool would actively use this type of website over an actual medical professional. Yet every year websites that use automated experts are reporting an increase in profits.
The very idea of a website telling you that you are sick, based from of a list of symptoms from which you choose, seems bizarre. Originally, when they first came out in 1996, there were a slew of late night talk show hosts cracking jokes about the foolishness of a self-diagnosis program. They said it would only lead to hypochondriacs losing their minds, and foolish people thinking themselves amateur doctors. Yet here it stands.
Now these types of websites are fully embraced. Some people still make jokes, but now no one is doubting its staying power. In fact, some programs that supply expertise without context have been gaining more popularity with every passing year.
Take for example tax return programs. These have become the norm for many mathematically challenged individuals. It also shares a similar design to WebMD's structure. To use it you input your own personal data and the online program then gives you your results.
So why do people even use medical diagnosis websites? Lucas Robinson can explain why this trend has continued, and why it will stay popular for some time. Robinson is a longtime WebMD user, he has always used websites like it, and most likely, he always will. He says, “I was never really ridiculed for it, but others often were.”
Robinson speaks about how computer programs can be trusted with other information, then why not get an idea about your own health from one. He finds himself often explaining to doubters that, “it's quick and it means you don't have to go for a checkup every time you think you may be sick.” He also mentions that the system is a tool to help give people a general idea of what may be wrong. It's not a solution to all medical problems. But these types of programs can shed some light on certain subjects and areas that some people really don't know anything about.
“It's a quick way of getting an idea of what might be wrong based off of symptoms.” Robinson stated. He goes on to point out that most people nowadays use it as a jumping off point, that most people don't take it too seriously.
This is why these types of websites have survived. Despite the very real need for medical, legal and other professionally trained experts. The concept of a device that gives people a general idea of what's going on, often times with their own body is needed.
These sites will continue to grow in the future the best we can do is use them while continuing to seek human experts as well.