Gen Y replacing GPs with internet
THE generation that brought the world Facebook, Justin Bieber and planking has an even less impressive notch on its collective belt – being number one when it comes to online self-diagnosis and taking unprescribed medication.
A survey published today by pharmaceuticals lobby the Australian Medicines Industry showed Australians aged 18–27 were twice as likely as the rest of the population to share medicines or use medications not recommended for them.
More than half of so-called Gen Y admitted to looking up symptoms on the internet instead of seeing a healthcare professional compared to 36% of the rest of the population, according to the survey of 1002 people.
The generation gap was even bigger when it came to buying medication online, with 21% of 18- to 27-year-olds saying they bought medicines from overseas on the internet, compared to just 6% of the rest of the population.
Medicines Industry spokesperson Dr Brendan Shaw said he was concerned Gen Y was tending to replace a visit to the doctor with online research.
“They’re more used to getting online, whether it’s on a computer or a smartphone,” Dr Shaw said.
“While the internet’s a great thing and a good information source, including for health issues, the concern is that they’re doing that instead of going and seeing the doctor.
“If you’ve got symptoms by all means use a smartphone, but don’t just use a smartphone to look it up on the internet, use it to make an appointment.”
The Medicines Industry is run by Medicines Australia.