Dr Google: Friend or Foe?


When a person gets sick, who is their first point of contact for health advice? A GP? A paramedic? A friend who is studying medicine? Many Australians turn first to Dr. Google. It is almost too easy to reach into your pocket, tap a few buttons and reach a diagnosis. But is this a good thing or a bad thing, and should it change the way we communicate with our patients? Join Dr. Anthony Cocco and Dr. David Berle for an interactive discussion to decide if Dr. Google is our friend or foe. Don’t forget to bring a smart device and an open mind!


Dr Anthony Cocco

Dr Anthony Cocco is a Critical Care Resident at St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne with a research interest in all aspects of technology in Medicine. His publication ‘Dr Google in the ED: searching for online health information by adult emergency department patients’, published in The Medical Journal of Australia, reached over 2.3 million people. Anthony brings a rare and unique insight into how Dr. Google can have a positive impact on the doctor-patient relationship and how we as doctors can use Google to increase the health literacy of our patients.

Dr David Berle

Dr David Berle (PhD) is a senior lecturer and NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow in the discipline of Clinical Psychology at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). He is also a conjoint senior lecturer in the School of Psychiatry, UNSW. He has research interests in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as problematic and excessive behaviours such as problematic video game use and excessive online searching for health information (“cyberchondria”).