Inside Health 17/10/17 Dr Google / recording sexuality

Dr Google

GPs threaten to remove patients who visit ‘Dr Google’ first


formal evaluation:
in people referred to hospital, other studies found using the web to prepare increased anxiety levels but overall mixed result

German study published in 2017 examined ways that people use internet for web info

some early US data saying that potential for some symptoms of obsessional compulsive disorder driven by internet searches

Cyberchondria: Studies of the Escalation of Medical Concerns in Web Search

other articles of note

IBM pitched its Watson supercomputer as a revolution in cancer care. It’s nowhere close



Sexuality coding

NHS England document 

comparison with recording ethnic group



3 Responses to “Inside Health 17/10/17 Dr Google / recording sexuality”

  1. Paul Keogh October 17, 2017 at 10:46 pm #

    Asking and recording sexuality is horrendously dangerous and also flawed. MSM do not mostly identify as “gay” so an important factor in their health will not be recorded. Given the notorious failings of GPs and the NHS in matters of patient confidentiality, particularly for young people, there are obvious dangers and a realistic possibly of physical harm resulting from exposure of sexuality (both self harm and assault). And of course the greatest danger is from the homophobic reaction of (many) GPs. and other HC professionals. The medical profession and NHS have never, in my long experience, been regarded as the friends of LGBT people.
    Finally – will the data be sold by the NHS? As indeed data about sexuality is used by insurance companies and some employers.

  2. Chris Pollard October 19, 2017 at 8:53 am #

    Hello Margaret & Mark
    As always a fascinating programme – ought to be compulsory listening for all GPs and MPs!
    On the recording of sexuality you suggested that it is known that people from LGBT communities are more at risk of certain conditions and so recording sexuality would enable us to deliver fairer services. Surely that is putting the cart before the horse – how do you “know” that LGBT people are more at risk until you have the recording in place and have done the analysis? This argument was the one put forward by the DoH and I for one found it circular and unhelpful. I should declare an interest and say that I am a gay man. My dentist didn’t ask my sexual orientation on Tuesday when I needed an emergency appointment for toothache!
    Any chance of you visiting the statistics bandied about on BBC News yesterday about the “failure” of the NHS to meet any of its targets, except for a small success in Scotland? On the face of it the statistics look terrible but we weren’t given any of the underlying figures. A doctor from an A&E department told us that they were getting 400 people through the door 5 years ago but now it was 500 per day. So if the resources haven’t increased in that time the department could be treating 400 a day which 5 years ago would have been 100 percent, but which now looks an abysmal failure. That department would have to treat 95 more people with the same resources to get to an acceptable level of care. We need to have more data presented and have someone look at it critically.
    Many thanks

  3. margaretadmin October 24, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

    hello Chris
    you are right: there may well be significant bias in the statistics ; however given the level of ongoing discrimination I think there is reason to be concerned. I can understand the DoH position and the position of the charity groups who are campaigning for it: but it hasn’t been tested in real life and the harms haven’t been ascertained either.
    and Paul,
    agree, the survey linked to above about acceptability of testing was done…in people who attended a focus group (and are therefore unlikely to not be able to disclose their sexuality!) ; the harms haven’t been assessed and the real life issue of doing this means that people may be in a situation where they feel pushed to disclosing sexuality when they are not confident of doing so…and from age 16 …And a lot of the time in a consultation with a doctor it just isn’t that relevant. The pleasure of GPing is that over time you get to know people and their partners but not in a forced, binary questioning sort of way.
    in terms of data selling – I am pretty confident that the T+C for the NHS Scotland are good enough and this wouldn’t happen outwith a bona fide research setting, and this plan is only for england, and in england, well….a different matter, different priorities, different aims…I think there is a different generation now who are holding medicine to account and on attitudes at least, I am hopeful that real change is happening. fingers crossed.