How do you know which health Websites are accurate—and which are cyber-quacks?
Start with the three sites below.
Where to Start
Whose Website Is It?
As you search online, pay attention to who pays for and operates the site. Pages produced by the government, nonprofits or universities are often your best bet. These end in .gov, .org and .edu.
Keep in mind that medicine changes quickly. Look for a date at the top or bottom of the page. If treatment-related resources are more than a year old, find another site that’s been updated more recently. Also, it’s easy to get a second opinion online, so check more than one site.
No matter what you read, don’t rush to action based only on information you find online. Your doctor is still your best source of personal medical advice. Talk with him or her about what your research. Your doctor can help resolve conflicting advice.
10 Things to Know About Evaluating Medical Resources on the Web.” National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. wellnessproposals.com/health-care/complimentary-and-alternative-medicine/10-things-to-know-when-evaluating-online-health-resources.pdf.
“FAQ: National Library of Medicine Guide to Finding Health Information.” U.S. National Library of Medicine. www.nlm.nih.gov/services/guide.html.
“Health Information on the Web: Finding Reliable Information.” American Academy of Family Physicians. familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/self-care/health-information-on-the-web-finding-reliable-information.html.
“MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing.” U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/healthywebsurfing.html.
“Online Health Information: Can You Trust It?” National Institute on Aging. www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/online_health_information_can_you_trust_it_1.pdf.
“Untangling the Web—The Impact of Internet Use on Health Care and the Physician–Patient Relationship.” H.E. Wald et al. Patient Education and Counseling. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17920226.