New figures released by NHS 24 reveal that anxious Scots looking for health information online look at the category including muscle, bone and joint injuries more than any other conditions.
Acccording to the latest statistics from the last six months, since the national health website NHS inform was redesigned, these categories are the top health complaint.
There were around 64,000 visits to the section on muscle, bone and joint problems on www.nhsinform.scot in the six-month period since November 2016. The other top five conditions and symptoms include bronchitis, abdominal pain, flu and lower back pain.
And the use of self-help guides is also popular, with 84,000 visits to individual guides over the same six-month period.
The new statistics were revealed as part of NHS 24’s ongoing redesign of its health information service, NHS inform. The website now includes a host of new features such as Browsealoud – for people who prefer or need to listen to information.
An Info for Me personalisation tool has been developed after patients said they’d have better managed their own health condition if they had known more about treatment available to them.
NHS 24’s medical director, Professor George Crooks, said: “It’s no surprise that muscle, bone and joint injuries are the most popular conditions that people seek health information on as these can be very painful.
“These types of injuries usually come on suddenly and can happen at any time, but are especially likely after playing sport.
“The top five reveals people are coming to us for information about a wide range of health complaints. It also highlights the fact that it is better to use a trusted health resource rather than rely on so-called ‘Dr. Google’.”
Professor Crooks added: “It’s also great to see more people coming to our website and using the self-help guides. These tools mean patients can better manage their own health conditions.
“We have revamped NHS inform with new enhanced digital features to allow people to tailor the information, making it more personal to them.
“During busy times, such as public holidays, the self-help guides are particularly useful because it allows people to check their symptoms online, manage their condition or be signposted to the right service.
“This means people can get help quickly and can take the pressure off our busy frontline services across NHS Scotland.”
NHS 24 works in close partnership with all Health Boards and the Scottish Ambulance Service to provide essential services to patients in need of urgent advice and care during the out-of-hours period when their GP surgery is closed. NHS 24 employs specialist staff including nurse advisers.
The top ten most looked up medical conditions by Scots on the NHS 24 health website are as follows:
1 Muscle, bone and joint conditions.
4 Stomach ache and abdominal pain
6 Sore throat
7 Urinary tract infection