Finding accurate internet medical information can be a hit or miss proposition. Here’s how to tell whether a site is a reputable source that can be trusted.
Every day people surf the internet looking for answers to their most pressing medical questions. While the web has a multitude of sites that provide concise, well researched health information, not every site provides reliable medical advice. It’s possible to get medical information off the internet that’s inaccurate and, in some cases, downright harmful. With the number of health websites growing every day, how can you find accurate internet medical information you can trust?
Don’t use the web as a substitute for a doctor
While web medical information can be helpful for researching an already established medical condition, the internet shouldn’t be used for self diagnosis. Many people go onto health and medical forums to post their symptoms, hoping for insight into their condition. This is a risky proposition. On the internet, almost anyone can call themselves a doctor and give medical advice. If you have an undiagnosed medical problem, be smart and see your personal physician.
Use trusted medical sites
Certain health and medical sites such as WebMd are considered to be trusted sources for medical information, although they’re not the only reputable sites. For a listing of one hundred trusted health websites, download a copy of the Caphis Top 100 List of Websites You Can Trust by googling Caphis Top 100 health. This is an excellent reference list of sites that provide accurate web medical information.
Beware of sites trying to sell you something
There are many sites on the web providing internet medical information geared towards selling a cure or remedy. These sites are naturally going to be more biased than a site designed for informational purposes. Always be aware if a site is promoting a product before using them as a medical resource. As a generalization, websites that end in .org are less likely to be for profit than are .com sites, although there are exceptions. Avoid sites that are sponsored by drug companies who may be promoting one of their own medications.
Look for journal references
When you read internet medical information on a website, look for references to research articles from reputable journals that corroborate the information given. If no references can be found, look for another source.
Be aware of when the site was last updated
Always be cognizant of when the articles you read online were written. You may be getting old medical information. Beware of sites that aren’t updated with fresh medical information on a timely basis. Health and medical recommendations can become outdated very quickly and you need a reputable site that responds to these changes with regular updates.
Look for government sponsored health sites
Government sponsored health and medical information sites are more like to provide unbiased internet medical information than are private sites that may be trying to promote a company or a product.
The World Wide Web offers a large repository of medical information, not all of which are reliable. Always question the source when seeking answers to medical questions and don’t accept web medical information as a substitute for consultation with your doctor.