Here Come the Cyberchondriacs

As patients shoulder a bigger burden of their health-care costs, they're increasingly looking for medical information onlinebefore seeing a doctor

During a ski trip to Lake Tahoe last Thanksgiving, Minna King noticed that her 1-year-old son was exhibiting some atypical behaviors: He was rubbing his cheek and crying more than usual. King wasn't sure whether it was a reaction to climate and altitude change—or something worse. So, she went online to WebMD and discovered that his symptoms were consistent with an ear infection. "It was because of WebMD that I could make the decision to spend $100 to take him to the emergency room," says King, who consults for business-networking site LinkedIn.

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