With so much medical information online, it is vital that individuals know how to identify credible sources. This presentation offers tips for evaluating websites, books, and social media for credible medical information.
Check if a website is sponsored by any organization and whether its biases are stated clearly. Also take into consideration when the information was posted online.
Before browsing any website, it’s wise to assess its URL or extension. A site operated by an educational or government institution will likely offer more impartial information than commercial ones. Furthermore, take a moment to note the last part of its URL which can reveal which organization the information comes from – for instance, sites ending in “.gov” or “.edu” are more reliable than ones ending with “.com” or “.biz.”
People involved with hosting and writing health information must disclose any potential conflicts of interest, and ensure their data is evidence-based, accurate, and up-to-date, while making sure their website is readable and understandable – this is particularly important when dealing with online health content as quality can differ widely between providers.
For those searching for high-quality medical information, the National Library of Medicine offers an abundance of vetted and reliable resources that are sure to assist in any number of areas. This includes an encyclopedia, videos, information about drugs and supplements as well as links to medical organizations and associations. In addition, PubMed gives access to medical literature as well as clinical trials – making this site an invaluable resource for patients, caregivers and healthcare providers. Also free and available in both English and Spanish languages this site makes a good place for starting when searching for health info – though for more detailed info it would always be wiser if one consulted their physician directly for more precise guidance.
Medical books can also serve as sources of health information; however, not all are reliable. To evaluate if a book is credible or not, one should evaluate the author and source of content before checking for bias or tonal changes based on facts. Ideally, healthcare information should be presented objectively without bias so as to be useful to patients.
Medical Library Association (MLA) has published an online guide for finding quality medical information. According to its authors, credible sources should offer scientific content consistent with best available evidence as well as adopt processes designed to minimize conflicts of interest and promote transparency and accountability. They suggest assessing a website or book by considering who created it, who wrote it, and when published – to evaluate credibility properly.
Researchers estimate that up to 80% of doctors’ patients use the Internet as their main method of seeking of health resources. But it’s important to be mindful that not all websites provide accurate medical content – some may be misleading or inaccurate. Below are some tips to help you locate quality medical content online: firstly, look for sources with credibility based on research such as government health agencies, prominent medical schools or professional associations; also ensure the information is up-to-date; outdated knowledge can be just as detrimental.
As with any website, it is also important to assess whether or not it is trying to sell you something. If it promotes products, these should be clearly labeled. Furthermore, be wary of sites claiming miraculous cures for certain illnesses; such claims often indicate an untrustworthy website.
As more people turn to the internet for health information, medical professionals should join efforts to enhance its quality. They can begin by making sure their own websites adhere to ethical standards and teaching patients how to critically appraise health information in order to avoid spreading misinformation or sparking unnecessary fears. Furthermore, creating a cultural norm of high-quality online medical information could ultimately decrease the amount of low-quality material found on social media, further increasing quality healthcare information both online and off.
Sifting through all the medical misinformation online can be daunting, yet accurate and reliable health information is key for making informed healthcare decisions. From discovering specific symptoms or supplements that could cause potential harm, following these tips can help patients access high quality health information online.
One of the key considerations when visiting websites is remembering that not all are created equal. Medical professionals understand this fact, while consumers who lack an understanding of what to look for may miss it altogether. To ascertain whether a website is reliable, it is necessary to verify certain factors – who wrote the information, how it was verified, any conflicts of interests and whether there are any bias or false claims involved; credible websites often disclose this information so consumers know exactly where their money goes.
Additionally, it’s important to consider how up-to-date the information is. With research constantly being done and practices shifting rapidly, having access to the most up-to-date knowledge is paramount – this can be found by looking for dates which indicate when information was published. Furthermore, reading through privacy policies of different websites may give insight into their protection of your personal health data.
Your physician can be an invaluable source of guidance when it comes to online information that may affect your unique circumstances, helping interpret it and determine whether it applies. Working together, both of you can work toward optimal health! *Please keep in mind that any information provided herein on this blog should only be used as an educational tool, not as a replacement for professional medical or clinical advice. For any changes you wish to make in your healthcare routine or have any inquiries or concerns please reach out directly at University of Washington Aging RRTC for guidance and consultation.