Fightback Against False Online Medical Advice

Spain Launches App To Combat Health Misinformation

Online advice. Credit: Golden Dayz/

Can you always trust the health information you find online?

In a significant move to counteract health misinformation, the Community of Madrid is introducing a ground-breaking application in January, designed to offer reliable health advice.

The new service, set to launch in January, is aimed at addressing common health inquiries related to diet, skin conditions, pregnancy, and medications.

A study conducted by dermatologists at the San Carlos Clinical Hospital disclosed that a staggering 64.7 per cent of dermatological content on social media is either misleading or confusing.

Echoing this concern, research by British and North American scientists, published in Cognition, revealed that over 1.1 million spurious Covid-19 articles circulated online in just one year.

Combating Digital Misinformation

To combat this surge of digital misinformation, Madrid’s health channel aims to provide ‘truthful’ answers to health-related queries, countering unreliable sources found through traditional search engines.

The regional government plans to integrate this service with a mobile application, ensuring easy accessibility.

The application’s unique feature is its use of artificial intelligence to handle straightforward questions via a chatbot.

However, for more complex inquiries, health professionals will provide the answers, ensuring the information’s accuracy.

For instance, a question about migraine symptoms would lead the user to the Hospital 12 de Octubre’s website, where medical professionals offer detailed explanations.

Verified Health Information At Your Fingertips

‘The idea is that the answers you get to your questions are verified by health professionals, either through an answer itself or through redirection to those verified pages,’ the Health Ministry explains.

This initiative is part of the ‘Madrid Te Cuida’ plan, aimed at offering users direct access to expertly curated information on various health topics, such as allergies, Covid-19, digestive issues, skin problems, pregnancy, vaccines, and mental health concerns.

This approach aligns with the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians (SEMERGEN)’s concerns over rampant internet misinformation.

Referencing studies from Taipei University and others, SEMERGEN notes the challenge isn’t just the prevalence of false information, but the difficulty in debunking it and transforming correct data into practical advice.

The Madrid government’s innovative solution aims not just to dispel myths but to proactively provide accurate health information, thereby reducing the need for corrective measures later.

This approach is expected to empower citizens with reliable, actionable health guidance, directly from their mobile devices.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.