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Over the past decade with the spread of the internet, the means by which patients seek health information has dramatically changed. In 2005, an analysis of approximately 6000 adults in the USA revealed that over 60% of internet users searched for health information online, with only approximately 10% using a physician as their initial source of health-related information.1 While the use of online resources to obtain primary health information has some concerning aspects, it also has potential public health benefits. For example, it is possible to detect emerging …
Contributors All authors contributed equally to this work.
Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.