Thursday, May 26, 2005

Evaluating Health Websites

You need to know about a medical condition, so you Google it. Fine - Google can help you find websites. What Google can't do is tell you which of these websites are reliable, truthful, or up to date - that part is your responsibility. So how do you determine which of the million-plus results are actually good resources? Here are some things to look for:
-Who is the author of the site? Do they have any credentials to show they know what they're talking about? Is the author an MD, or is this some individual's website?
-Who are the sponsors of the site? Is the site paid for by drug companies or some other group that might have an influence on the content?
-When was the site updated? Information can change quickly, especially on drugs.
-Does the site provide any references? Does it tell you where the information came from?

Some additional tip sheets:
A User's Guide to Finding and Evaluating Health Information on the Web (Medical Library Association)
How To Evaluate Health Information on the Internet: Questions and Answers (National Cancer Institute)
MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing (National Library of Medicine)
10 Things To Know About Evaluating Medical Resources on the Web (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine)
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Anonymous Pat Sullivan said...

I'm glad that there are people like you spreading this message. There are answers to the "health puzzle" in both conventional and alternative medicince! But beware of the hundreds of websites that are imposters just trying to make a buck!! I'm particularly not a fan of the many MLM sites promising cures (and breaking DSHEA laws).

1:04 PM  

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