Google screen cap “Knowing what patients look for before visiting an ED can help us anticipate their needs and direct them to the best sources of care,” says lead author Jeremy Asch.

Spurred by the rise of sites like WebMD, people have increasingly turned to Google and the web to self-diagnose their health woes. And as it turns out, what they’re Googling may actually be a good predictor of whether they’re about to make a trip to the emergency room.

A new study, conducted by researchers at Penn Medicine that tracked 150 people’s internet activity in 2016 and 2017 found that health-related searches doubled in the week before visiting the ER.

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