You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Queensland wellbeing projects aim to kill off 'Dr Google'

ABC News logo ABC News 23/11/2016 By Alyssa Betts

Bernadette Praske says research shows self-help resources work best with guidance © ABC News/Alyssa Betts Bernadette Praske says research shows self-help resources work best with guidance Queensland health professionals concerned about people relying on questionable physical and mental health information they have dug up on the internet have banded together to kill off "Dr Google".

As part of a project called Words for Wellbeing, hailed as an Australian-first, they will be prescribe books, websites and apps along with medicines.

The project was designed by the West Moreton Hospital and Health Service (WMHHS), in the Ipswich region, west of Brisbane.

Principal engagement adviser Bernadette Praske said research showed self-help resources worked best with the guidance of a health professional.

"I have to tell you that in the development of this project, almost everybody I spoke to talked about looking up Dr Google and scaring themselves silly in the middle of the night," Ms Praske said.

"There was no-one who said they hadn't done that, so it's obviously quite prevalent and something that we all do."

Ms Praske said the books, websites and apps had been chosen by local doctors and mental health professionals, but were written in everyday, accessible language.

Heart disease and kidney disease targeted

Paulette Montaigne says people need accurate, valid and relevant health information © ABC News/Alyssa Betts Paulette Montaigne says people need accurate, valid and relevant health information Paulette Montaigne has to help manage the distress caused by out-of-date, inaccurate or irrelevant health information in her role as coordinator of the Ipswich Parkinson's Support Group.

"It's not the person with the illness that may fall into that trap, but it is their loved ones who will access that information and bring it back," Ms Montaigne said.

"It gets their loved ones on, maybe, the wrong path of medication or treatment or support. "They mean well, but at the end of the day, in fact they've done more damage."

Ms Praske said similar projects operated in parts of Western Australia, New South Wales and the UK, but they only focussed on mental health resources.

She said this was the first program to "branch out" and also include physical health resources. "So topics like heart disease, chronic disease, kidney disease — things that people really struggle with to manage their health on a daily basis," she said.

More From ABC News

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon