Symptom checkers

Information about using symptom checkers safely

Online symptom checkers

  • Symptom checkers are online tools designed to help you understand what your medical symptoms could mean and guide you to the appropriate healthcare action.
  • This page provides information on online symptom checkers – what they are, how they work and tips to use them safely.
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Online symptom checkers are calculators that ask users to input details about your signs and symptoms of sickness, along with other information such as gender and age. Using computerised algorithms, the symptom checkers then give a range of conditions that might fit the problems you are experiencing. They can also advise someone whether to seek advice from a healthcare professional and the level of urgency with which to do so.


Note: The symptom checkers below are from other countries and may have information that differs from New Zealand recommendations. Also, the contact information for health service advice is not appropriate for New Zealand users. The New Zealand contact for health advice and information is Healthline phone 0800 611 116.

As more people look online for their health information, the number of symptom checkers are growing. Currently the evidence for safety and accuracy of these is generally limited and where evidence is available, it is often of poor quality. Also, researchers have found that some mental health websites are either drug company owned or receive funding from drug companies and that they recommend medication more than sites not funded by the industry.1 This means it is important to also check who is providing the information the symptom checker is using.

Further, while online symptom checkers hosted on reputable health websites may have more value than a general internet search for symptoms, they are dependent on the information that the user provides and they can miss important information. Many symptoms checkers are from other countries and may have information that differs from New Zealand recommendations. Therefore, it is important to use online symptom checkers with caution.  


The patient's toolkit for diagnosis(external link) Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) Patient Engagement Committee


Your.MD symptom checker app

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Common symptoms

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